Notorious assassin changes surname to 'lion'

A recent court indictment has revealed that  Mehmet Ali Ağca, the killer of journalist Abdi İpekçi and the perpetrator of failed assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II changed his surname to "Aslan," meaning "lion" in English.

An Istanbul court used the new surname of Ağca during a trial in which he faced 15 years in prison for looting.

According to the indictment in the case, Ağca allegedly took over a house belonging to Gökhan Soylu through threats and extortion.

Ağca, however, refuted the accusations, claiming that he had sold the house to Soylu for a significantly lower value and later reclaimed it due to threats from someone else.

"I purchased this property through a person named Ayhan. Upon Ayhan's request, I sold the house shortly afterward. After the sale, Ayhan contacted me, claiming that the house was sold at a low price and demanded 1 million Turkish Liras."

"I absolutely did not threaten the complainant [Soylu]. Between 2015 and 2022, I acquired six properties worth a total of $1.5 million. I cannot be involved in such an affair for a dilapidated house. Ayhan ensnared me into this incident by falsely accusing me."

Ağca, arrested in 1979 for the assassination of İpekçi, was later abducted from prison by nationalist militant Abdullah Çatlı and his associates and sent to Bulgaria.

On May 13, 1981, he attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in Vatican City, shooting him in the hand and abdomen. Sentenced to life imprisonment in Italy on March 22, 1986, Ağca was extradited to Türkiye in 2000 after the Pope pardoned him. Having served time for the İpekçi murder, as well as robbery and extortion, Ağca was released in 2010.

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