‘Messiah’ Mehmet Ali Agca hopes to cash in on Pope attack

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A Turkish gunman who tried to kill Pope John Paul II in 1981 offered to sell his story to the media when he was released from prison yesterday.

But hopes that Mehmet Ali Agca would reveal details of an alleged Soviet-era plot behind the St Peter’s Square assassination attempt receded after he issued a statement calling himself “the Christ eternal”.

His lawyer, Haci Ali Ozhan, said that more than 50 foreign publishers and film-makers had offered to buy his story. He is said to have asked for as much as $2 million (£1.2 million).

Mr Agca spent last night at the Sheraton hotel in Ankara. There were hopes that he would shed light on questions that remain unanswered from his initial trial and subsequent investigations — among them the extent of his contacts with Italian organised crime. However, his eccentric actions yesterday appear to have further undermined his credibility. “After his endless accounts and retractions, it appears useless to ask him to shed light on what really happened,” wrote L’Unità, the left-wing Italian paper.

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