Pope's attacker says: I want Dan Brown to tell my story

Would-be assassin emerges from prison demanding $7m for film and book deal

The man who came within a whisker of murdering Pope John Paul II and later claimed to be Jesus Christ was released from jail in Turkey yesterday and promised to tell all – for a price.

Mehmet Ali Agca has been in jail for nearly 30 years and during that time, the theories about why he attempted a papal assassination have multiplied. Now he is out, the curiosity about the man and his motives will be vast. And Mr Agca, despite having what the Turkish authorities called "a severe personality disorder", seems well aware of it.

Interest in film and documentary projects stretches "from Japan to Canada", he claimed in a letter to a British newspaper. He is reported to be asking $2m (£1.2m) for a television interview, and $5m for two books, one of which would be his autobiography. He has also apparently written to the best-selling American author Dan Brown proposing a book to be entitled The Vatican Code, and a film of the same name.

Hurriyet Daily News, a Turkish daily paper, reported that his family hopes "to earn at least $50m in copyrights from TV series, interviews, documentaries and books".

But asked for details of the deals, Agca's lawyer, Yilmaz Abosoglu, was a little evasive. "We have yet to agree with any television or publishing company," he told reporters. "We'll wait and see what happens."

Tall, erect and dressed in a royal blue suit and tie, Agca, now 52, emerged from Sincan Prison in Ankara yesterday and did not disappoint the host of reporters waiting for him. "I proclaim the end of the world," he told them. "All the world will be destroyed this century. Every human being will die in this century ... I am the Christ eternal."

In a handwritten letter given to reporters outside the jail by his brother, he announced that he was "the divine messenger of God" and promised to write "the perfect Gospel".

The biggest question dogging Agca all these years has been why he wanted to kill the pope. John Paul II, dynamic, fiercely anti-communist and Polish, was greeting pilgrims in St Peter's Square on 13 May 1981 when the young Turk took aim from a few yards away and shot him twice in the stomach. Cries went up from the crowd – "Hanno sparato il papa!" (They've shot the Pope!) – as the pontiff slumped to his seat and bloodstains spread across his cream-coloured cassock.

Agca was caught as he tried to escape. But while there was no doubt about his guilt, his motive remains deeply obscure.

Under interrogation he claimed that he had carried out the shooting according to orders from Bulgarian secret intelligence. But later he abruptly changed his story and began issuing apparently crazed declarations, claiming to be Jesus Christ and announcing the end of the world.

Other theories about the attack abound. In 1984 a Mafia supergrass claimed that Toto Riina, Cosa Nostra's then capo di capi, was behind it. One Italian magistrate argued that Carlos the Jackal was involved.

Agca himself claimed to be the fulfilment of the "Third Secret of Fatima", a testament supposedly revealed by the Madonna to Portuguese shepherds in 1917, which predicted the assassination of a pope.

Whether he will now enlighten us, or merely confound the confusion further, remains to be seen. As does any book or film deal.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Partner Manager - EMEA

£50000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Partner Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Regional Sales Manager - OTE £100,000

£45000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Regional Sales Manager is re...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company provides IT support...

Recruitment Genius: IT Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This manager is for a successfu...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific