.- The man who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981 has warned Pope Benedict XVI not to visit his predominantly Muslim country in November, following the violent reaction to his misunderstood remarks on Islam and Mohammed.
"As a man who knows these things, I am saying that your life is in danger, don't come to Turkey. I can't welcome you because I'm in prison," lawyer Mustafa Demirbag quoted Mehmet Ali Agca as saying.
The lawyer said Agca made his statement during a meeting at the high-security Kartal prison in Istanbul on Monday. Demirbag said he would visit Agca again on Thursday and was expecting his client to make further statements.
Agca’s warning follows the remarks the Pope made last week in Germany—quoting a 14th-century emperor—that some teachings of Islam are “evil and inhuman,” particularly that of spreading faith through violence.
Agca speculated in a hand-written letter, faxed to the Associated Press by his lawyer that the Pope was pressured by secret services to make such a statement. The gunman called on Benedict to step down as Pope and return to Germany for a peaceful life.
There have long been questions about Agca's mental health, reported the AP. When asked by Turkish police earlier this year where he obtained the gun he used in his assassination attempt, Agca said: "These are minor details. It was written in my destiny 1,000 years ago. I fulfilled a mission that was written 1,000 years ago. I would shoot the pope even if he was on the moon," Turkey's Hurriyet and Zaman newspapers had quoted him as saying.
Agca is expected to remain in jail until 2010, after an appeals court ruled he had to serve a longer sentence for killing a prominent Turkish journalist in 1979.