A Turkish right-wing activist accused of smuggling the gun that was used to shoot Pope John Paul II into Italy wound up two days of testimony after implicating other Turkish rightists in the assassination plot.
The testimony provided by Omer Bagci accorded with some of the details provided by the would-be papal assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, in pretrial testimony, particularly concerning right-wing Turks. But it shed no new light on Agca's claims that there was a "Bulgarian connection" to the papal plot.
Public prosecutor Antonio Marini, who cross-examined Bagci today, has taken the first step toward launching a fresh investigation into the circumstances leading up to the assassination attempt. He announced that he would be submitting Bagci's testimony to state prosecutors to see whether fresh action should be taken.
In testimony yesterday, Bagci named three members of a Turkish extreme right-wing organization known as the Gray Wolves who he suggested might have had prior knowledge of the assassination attempt: Erdem Eyup, Mahmut Inan, and Erdal Uenal -- all associates of Agca in the period, prior to the assassination attempt in May 1981, when the Turkish gunman was traveling across Europe.
The three men named by Bagci, who are believed to live in Switzerland, are likely to be called as witnesses during the trial but could only be indicted as coconspirators if the investigation is reopened.
Bagci sought to present himself as someone who had been dragged into involvement with Agca out of fear of reprisals if he did not cooperate. He acknowledged keeping a package for Agca, that he thought contained a gun, in Switzerland and delivering it to him in Milan four days before the shooting in St. Peter's Square.
Bagci said that he suspected some kind of a plot after Eyup and Inan, who had both been instrumental in introducing him to Agca, left Switzerland for Austria immediately after the assassination attempt.