Mehmet Ali Ağca

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Mehmet Ali Ağca (Turkish pronunciation: [ˈaːdʒa]; born January 9, 1958) is a Turkish[1][2] assassin who murdered left-wing journalist Abdi İpekçi on February 1, 1979 and later shot and wounded Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1981, after escaping from a Turkish prison. After serving 19 years of imprisonment in Italy, he was deported to Turkey, where he served a ten-year sentence. He was released on January 18, 2010.[3] Ağca has described himself as a mercenary with no political orientation, although he is known to have been a member of the Turkish ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves organization.


Early life

Ağca was born in the Hekimhan district, Malatya Province in Turkey. As a youth, he became a petty criminal and a member of street gangs in his home town. He became a smuggler between Turkey and Bulgaria.

He claims to have received two months of training in weaponry and terrorist tactics in Syria as a member of the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine paid for by the Communist Bulgarian government, although this has been questioned.

Grey Wolves involvement

After training he went to work for the far-right Turkish Grey Wolves, who were at the time destabilizing Turkey, which led to a military coup in 1980. It has been claimed ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves were being used by the CIA. For instance, according to Kendal Nezan of the Kurdish Institute of Paris, they were infiltrated and manipulated by Gladio "stay-behind" networks, a NATO clandestine structure.[4]

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