Italy Knew of Agca’s Plans to Assassinate Pope

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It has been revealed that Turkey informed Italian officials about Mehmet Ali Agca's plan to assassinate Pope II Jean Paul one year before the incident.

Turkish Interpol warned member countries by issuing a red bulletin after Agca escaped from prison in 1979 where he was sentenced to life for murdering Abdi Ipekci, editor of the moderate left-wing newspaper Milliyet; however, the countries did not pay much heed to "the red bulletin" at first. After Agca's assassination attempt, Interpol’s Secretariat General thanked the Turkish Security Directorate and held Turkey as an example for other countries.

Retired Security Director Selahattin Gultepe who worked at the Security Directorate Interpol Office during 1977-1986, said they informed all the Interpol members including Italy about Agca's assassination plan one year before the incident by issuing a red bulletin. Gultepe brought tens of outlaws back to Turkey, including Cevher Ozden (known as Banker Castello) who was extradited to Turkey from abroad following agreements signed between the countries.

Gultepe, who still leads Eastern Security Services, said that Agca's attempt on the pope’s life occurred on a Sunday. He explained the situation of the Security Office as follows: "There were many political assassination attempts during that period. We were on alert about names such as Abdullah Catli, Oral Celik, Musa Serdar Celebi, Mehmet Sener and Haluk Kirci. Agca was a murderer wanted by us as well. Agca's assassination attempt took place on a Sunday. Since it was a weekend, we were called in to the office in a hurry where we examined Agca's dossier. We were supposed to present the information about him to the General Security Directorate, Internal Ministry and to the Prime Minister. We began by taking notes, there was a thin dossier about Agca for Interpol at first. Then, it turned into 40 files including correspondence, informants' letters etc."

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