Italian police say they think only one person was involved in the alleged hijack of a Turkish Airlines plane which was diverted to southern Italy. Officials in Brindisi, where the plane landed, said the man, 28-year old Turkish national Hakan Ekinci, wanted to deliver a message to the Pope.
He was not armed, and no weapons were found on the aircraft. The passengers were closely questioned when they disembarked, to make sure no accomplice was involved.
The plane, with 113 people on board, was on its way to Istanbul from Albania when it was hijacked over Greek airspace and diverted to Italy. A man gave himself up to police 9 hours after it landed.
Turkish officials claim Ekinci, a Christian convert, was an army deserter who had been denied political asylum in Albania. They have dismissed claims that the incident was a protest against the Pope’s upcoming visit to Turkey.
The Vatican says the three-day visit at the end of November will continue as planned.