IT is believed that the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II by the Turk Ali Agcá in St Peter's Square on May 13, 1981, had been planned in Majorca.
Agca had spent three days as a tourist in Palmanova-Magalluf, before travelling to Rome. However, it is not known whether or not he made contact with foreign agents, or if he was already carrying the gun with which he tried to kill the Pope, a nine millimetre Browning.
What is known is that he stayed at the Hotel Flamboyan in Palmanova up to four days before the attack, registering under the false name of Faruk Osgun. He was not known to have received anyone in the hotel, where he was known as a loner. After his arrest, the Spanish police suspected that he could have met with international terrorists to plot the attack.
In 1979, Agca, who had been accused of murdering liberal Turkish journalist Abdi Ipekci, escaped from jail in Turkey and entered Bulgaria in 1980, travelling on a false passport and later going to West Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Tunisia before going to Rome. When arrested in St Peter's Square he still had the weapon, and a note in Turkish which said I, Agca, have killed the Pope so that the world can know that there are thousands of victims of imperialism.
He received a life sentence and after serving nearly 20 years in Italy was extradited to Turkey in 2000, where he is still in jail.
While still in hospital recovering from his injuries, the Pope forgave him, and visited him in prison in 1983.
Agca was reported to have been deeply moved on hearing of the Pope's death, and was in mourning.
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