Turkish police detain director of film on last year’s failed coup

July 13, 2017 10:30 pm

Turkish riot police officers arrive with their shields in front of Ankara’s courthouse on July 7, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Turkish police have arrested a prominent film director who has made a controversial movie showing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan under gunpoint during last summer’s failed coup.
The official Anadolu agency said on Thursday that Ali Avci was detained on suspicion of links to the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom blames for July’s failed coup that sought to oust Erdogan last year.
Gulen has denied the charges of having masterminded the coup.
Turkish security forces also detained another man, identified as Fetullah Karabiber, who was found in Avci’s house and was already wanted by authorities, the report added.  
The fugitive man has been suspected of using an encrypted messaging application allegedly used by Gulen’s movement. 
Avci’s new film “Uyanis” (Awakening) is not in theatres yet. However, its trailer has already sparked controversy on the first anniversary of the July 15 attempted putsch.
The trailer showed a scenario, where the coup plotters had succeeded and killed Erdogan’s family members in their house in the Kisikli district of Istanbul while Erdogan is shown under gunpoint.
Avci was also a producer of the film “Reis” (the Chief), a biopic about Erdogan’s early political life,
The film hit screens in March ahead of a key April referendum to boost Erdogan’s powers.
On April 16, Turkey held a referendum on implementing a series of constitutional reforms that greatly empower Erdogan.
The movie received immense media attention at home and abroad ahead of its release. However, it garnered dreadful reviews and made only paltry box office takings.
Turkey witnessed a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, when a faction of the Turkish military declared that Erdogan’s government was no more in charge of the country.
A few hours later, however, the coup was suppressed. Almost 250 people were killed and nearly 2,200 others wounded in the abortive coup.
Since then, Ankara has been engaged in suppressing the media and opposition groups, who were believed to have played a role in the failed putsch.
Over 50,000 people have been arrested and some 150,000 others sacked or suspended from a wide range of professions, including soldiers, police, teachers, and public servants, over alleged links with terrorist groups.
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