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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 September 2006, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK
Man who shot Pope warns Benedict
Pope John Paul II wounded, 13 May 81
Pope John Paul was shot and wounded by Agca in Rome
The man who tried to kill the late Pope John Paul II in 1981 has warned Pope Benedict XVI not to visit Turkey, saying his life could be in danger.

The warning from imprisoned Turkish national Mehmet Ali Agca came amid a furore in the Muslim world over the Pope's recent comments on Islam.

Pope Benedict is planning to visit Turkey in November.

"As a man who knows these things, I say your life is in danger. Don't come to Turkey," Agca was quoted as saying.

Lawyer Mustafa Demirbag said Agca made his statement during a meeting at the high-security Kartal prison in Istanbul on Monday.

Furore

The Pope has faced calls from Muslims for an unequivocal apology over his 12 September speech in his native Germany. In it he quoted a medieval text criticising some teachings of the Prophet Mohammed as "evil and inhuman."

So far he has said only that he regrets the offence his words caused. He has also expressed "deep respect" for Islam.

His speech sparked several days of protests in Muslim countries.

Pope John Paul II meets Mehmet Ali Agca in an Italian prison in 1983
Pope John Paul visited Agca in prison, where he forgave him

Agca shot the late Pope John Paul II in St Peter's Square in Rome on 13 May 1981, hitting him four times.

Agca never gave a motive, and mystery has continued to surround the shooting.

Pope John Paul II died last year.

A link between Agca and Bulgarian agents, and through them to the Soviet Union's KGB, has been the subject of speculation over the years.

Agca served nearly 20 years in an Italian jail for the crime. He is currently in prison in Turkey for the murder of a journalist.


SEE ALSO
Soviets 'ordered Pope shooting'
02 Mar 06 |  Europe
Pope gunman jailed 'until 2010'
23 Jan 06 |  Europe

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