A ROME magistrate, llario Martella, on ;:t mission to Turkey to discover the alleged accomplices of the man who. shot the Pope. Mehmet Ali Agca. started his investigations last week under heavy security and a news blackout imposed by the Military Government.
Mr. Martella. who arrived accompanied by an anti-terrorist 4.cluad. started his investigation by interrogating prisoners in military detention. government sources said.
Abuzer Ugurlu. one of the alleged ringleaders of illegal arms traffic in the Middle East, who was arrested after the 1980 coup, was the first to be questioned by the magistrate.
The sources said that Mr Martella was expected to question several other prisoners in connection with reports that Agca had accomplices when he tried to kill Pope John Paul on May 13 last year.
Mr. Martella also will meet Istanbul prosecutors during his stay, the sources said. but could not say how long Mr Martella would stay in Turkey.
The independent Turkish daily, Milliyet said earlier this month that Agca had confessed that Ugurlu was connected with the assassination attempt and that he supplied cash and transportation to the gunman, sought in Turkey, for the murder of Milliyet's former editor Abdi Ipekci. Agca was caught immediately after the gun attack on the Pope and sentenced to life imprisonment in a maximum security prison in Rome.
Agca. an alleged member of the disbanded ultra-right Grey Wolves gang in pre-coup Turkey. escaped from an Istanbul military prison in 1979. A military court sentenced him in absentia to death for the killing of 1pekci earlier that year.
Although he claimed to be a professional acting "on his own," Agca's statements were generally regarded as false. Officials also identified an unknown gunman who accompanied Agca at the Rome shooting. Photographs showed a man holding a gun in his hand and escaping from the scene.