Turkish court jails filmmaker for movie portraying execution of Erdogan
A Turkish filmmaker has been convicted of membership of a terrorist group for directing a feature film that portrayed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan having a gun pointed at his head as his family lay dead around him.
Ali Avci was arrested last year after the release of a trailer for his film "Awakening", based on a failed coup in July 2016, in which more than 250 people were killed.
The trailer caused public uproar with sequences showing Erdogan's family, including his son-in-law Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, shot dead, and an army officer pointing a gun at the back of the president's head as he prayed.
An Istanbul court on Friday sentenced Avci to six years and three months in jail for belonging to the network of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, deemed a terrorist organisation by Turkey.
If I was trying to make terrorist propaganda, I would have shown Erdogan making plans to flee, instead of the praying scene
- Ali Avci
Gulen denies Turkey's accusation that he masterminded the coup attempt.
The court said Avci had been carrying out "public perception management in line with the core goals of the terrorist organisation" through his movie, the Reuters news agency reported.
Avci denied the charges and said Erdogan himself had repeatedly said he was the target of the failed coup, which included air strikes on the presidential palace in Ankara, although Erdogan was absent at the time.
"If I was trying to make terrorist propaganda, I would have shown Erdogan making plans to flee, instead of the praying scene," Avci told the court.
More than 50,000 people have been jailed pending trial and 150,000 state workers including teachers, judges and soldiers have been suspended or dismissed since the coup attempt.