Murderer says he killed priest Santoro for his missionary work

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Oğuzhan Aydın (L) and Catholic priest Andrea Santoro

Oğuzhan Aydın, convicted of the 2006 murder in Trabzon of Catholic priest Andrea Santoro, said on Monday that he killed the cleric because of his missionary activities, adding that he only regrets it for putting Turkey into a difficult position.

Speaking to the Karadeniz Gazete, a local paper in the Black Sea region, Aydın also claimed that Father Santoro told him that their goal was to convert all Turks to Christianity. The murderer was released in August after a government decision to empty prisons to open up space for post-coup purge victims.

Taking the life of Father Santoro when he was a 16-year-old high school student, Aydın denied that it was premeditated murder, saying that he had not planned to kill the priest until he talked about his missionary work.

According to the killer, after Santoro allegedly spoke about converting Turks to Christianity, he got frustrated, told the priest that Islam is the ultimate true religion and shot him in the Saint Maria Catholic Church in Trabzon.

Aydın was convicted of killing the Catholic priest on Feb. 5, 2006 but was released from prison although he had been sentenced to 18 years, 10 months. Aydın had escaped from prison in 2012 only to be caught just a half hour after he fled.

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