Turkish pope-shooter wants to meet Pope Francis

The man who tried to assassinate  John Paul II wants to meet Pope Francis during the Holy Father’s November 28-30 visit to Turkey.

“I had met with a pope before. It is quite normal to meet with him (Pope Francis) as well,” said gunman Mehmet Ali Agca in a written statement.

In mentioning his first papal meeting Agca was referring to John Paul II, who visited him in an Italian prison in 1983 after the attack.

Despite requesting the Vatican to meet Pope Francis, Agca says he has not yet received a response.

Agca fired four bullets into John Paul II on May 13 1981, while the pontiff was riding in an open car through St Peter’s Square in the Vatican.

The pope was wounded in the abdomen, in his left hand and in the right arm but his condition was not critical as the bullets missed vital organs.

Agca, who served 19 years in an Italian prison for the assassination attempt, was pardoned by John Paul II in 2000.

He was later extradited to his home country to serve a 10-year sentence for other crimes, including the murder of a prominent Turkish journalist, Abdi Ipekci.

During his three-day visit, the spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics will meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Mehmet Gormez, the head of religious affairs department, Diyanet.

The pontiff will also offer Mass at the Holy Spirit Cathedral in Istanbul and privately meet Istanbul-based Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Churches.


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