Mehmet Ali Ağca (Turkish pronunciation: ; born January 9, 1958) is a Turkish assassin who murdered left-wing journalist Abdi İpekçi on February 1, 1979 and later shot and wounded Pope John Paul II on May 13, 1981, after escaping from a Turkish prison. After serving 19 years of imprisonment in Italy, he was deported to Turkey, where he served a ten-year sentence. He was released on January 18, 2010. Ağca has described himself as a mercenary with no political orientation, although he is known to have been a member of the Turkish ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves organization.
Ağca was born in the Hekimhan district, Malatya Province in Turkey. As a youth, he became a petty criminal and a member of street gangs in his home town. He became a smuggler between Turkey and Bulgaria.
He claims to have received two months of training in weaponry and terrorist tactics in Syria as a member of the left-wing Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine paid for by the Communist Bulgarian government, although this has been questioned.