A Turkish man was charged on Friday with murder in the stabbing death of a Roman Catholic bishop, the Vatican’s apostolic vicar in Anatolia, for whom he worked as a driver, a court said.
Monsignor Luigi Padovese was killed a day before he was due to leave for Cyprus to meet Pope Benedict XVI. The killing in the Mediterranean port of Iskenderun on Thursday was the latest in a string of attacks in recent years on Christians in predominantly Muslim Turkey.
The 26-year-old driver, Murat Altun, confessed to the killing, his lawyer Cihan Onal said.
“The murder is not politically motivated,” Onal told the state-run Anatolia news agency. “My client is suffering from mental problems. He confessed to all the details of the killing.”
Turkish authorities also said the murder did not appear to be politically motivated. The court ordered Altun jailed pending trial. No trial date has been set.
“In his statement, at one point he said he killed him after receiving a message from God,” Onal said. “He can’t explain why he committed the murder. In fact, he is giving conflicting accounts.”