Page 1, 24th July 1981

24th July 1981
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Page 1, 24th July 1981 — Violent family past of Pope's attacker
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Organisations: Istanbul University, Grey Wolf
Locations: Rome

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Violent family past of Pope's attacker

By Desmond O'Grady THE TRIAL of Mehmet Ali Agca has not solved the enigma of the killer but Turkish authorities did throw some light on him in a dossier sent to the Italian investigators.

They underlined the violence in Ali Agca's family life. Born to a poor family in the central Anatolian city of Maatya in 1958, Agca was a epileptic until the age of ten. His father was a violent drunkard and Agca early began to imitate him. He did not have childhood friends because he was so aggressive. At the same time he was very close to his mother who was beaten by his father.

His father died when Mehmet was only eight. He told his mother he would make her forget her sufferings. He began to work selling water and carrving luggage at the local railway station, then carrying bricks for a bricklayer which damaged his back.

At night he studied and wrote poetry. It seems he first attracted police attention with a poem in favour of Armenian separatism. He was also involved in clashes between Muslim sects. He sided with the Sunnites who are inclined to mix religion and politics.

lie attended the arts faculty at Istanbul University but proclaimed that he would not be a teacher as he wanted to be rich. At university he joined the rightwing Grey Wolf movement.

The Turkish daily -Milliyet wrote of Mehmet Ali Agca that "the lack of love in his early years made him strike at people who have become symbols of lore". The journalist he killed, Abdi Ipecki, was a paladin of peace while the Pope is a symbol of Catholic love.

As Mehmet's trial began in Rome, the Vatican daily L'Osservatore Romano recalled John Paul's pardon of his assailant. "Despite society's duty to defend itself and its citizens, "wrote L'Osservatore, "We must not forget the gospel words 'love your enemies, do good to those who hate you'."




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