.- The 16-year old high school student who murdered Fr. Santoro, an Italian priest, was arrested on Tuesday and has confessed to a crime which has shocked this Muslim nation.
The student told police he was influenced by cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammad, NTV commercial television said. The report could not be immediately confirmed.
The state Anatolian news agency said the student, aged 16, had been carrying a 9 mm pistol when he was captured in the Black Sea city of Trabzon, where Fr. Santoro was gunned down on Sunday while praying.
The Turkish government has strongly condemned the killing of Santoro, which coincides with increased religious tension worldwide following the publication of cartoons in some European and other newspapers lampooning the Prophet.
TThe Vatican has joined Muslim countries, including Turkey, in condemning the cartoons of the Prophet, saying freedom of speech does not mean freedom to offend a person's religion.
Following the murder of Fr. Santoro, Italian Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, in the midst of a political campaign, called on the Turkish government to "neutralize fanatics" after the killing of Santoro, but said the murder should not be allowed to affect Ankara's bid to join the European Union.