Agca Ali Mehmet takes revenge of the Siege of Mecca
The following extract of the book “The Siege of Mecca: The Forgotten Uprising in Islam’s Holiest Shrine” by Yaroslav Trofimov, p. 143-145, Penguin Books, London, 2008, brings in light the facts which motivated Agca Ali Mehmet to kill Pope John Paul II as a symbolic head of the christian world:
“A different kind of violence germinated in Turkey. A new Catholic pope, John Paul II, was about to arrive there for a visit with his Orthodox counterpart, Istanbul-based Patriarch Dimitrios. The trip, planned well in advance, aimed to bridge a schism that had begun almost a millennium earlier, when the Catholic pope and the Orthodox patriarch excommunicated each other, dividing the Christian world into two hostile halves. Muslim-Christian relations were not supposed to be an issue, but the recent outbreak of Islamic fervor across the region frightened Turkish authorities. “This is not the right time for the Pope to be visiting Turkey: this visit puts Turkey into a difficult situation with the rest of the Muslim world,” the Islmaist-leaning Yanki magazine warned its readers. Fearing street protests, the government tried its best to keep the pope’s rip as low-key as possible.
The planned visit still infuriated many Turkish radicals, including one who was kept behind bars in Istanbul’s maximum-security Kartal-Maltepe military prison. A nationalist and an Islamist, Mehmet Ali Agca had been imprisioned earlier that year for killing the editor of Milliyet, a popular left-leaning newspaper. The night of November 24, Agca – in a military uniform – managed to escape. Then, he tauntingly dispatched to Milliyet a handwritten letter that explained his motives.
Parroting Khomeini’s conspiracy theories, Agca lamented in the note the desecration of Mecca’s Grand Mosque as an American and Zionist outrage against Islam. “The U.S. and Israel are responsible, and they will pay for this,” Agca scribbled. A visit to Muslim Turkey by the pope was part and parcel of the same infidel plot, he wrote: “The Western imperialists are afraid that Turkey’s brotherly Islamic countries in the Middle East will create a new political, military and economic superpower, and are sending the Pope – a leader of the Crusaders who is masquerading as a man of faith – to Turkey at a very wrong time.” To redeem Muslim honor and wash off the stain of humiliation in Mecca, Agca pledged in the letter – which Milliyet duly printed on its front page – to personally assasinate the Catholic pontiff: “If the visit is not called off, I will definitely kill him.”
Firing point-blank as John Paul II’s vehicle passed nearby, he discharged three bullets from his nine-millimeter Browning pistol. Just narrowly skirting vital organs, one of these bullets burst through the pontiff’s abdomen, almost killing him.”