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Turkish filmmaker arrested after release of Erdogan 'execution' trailer

Ali Avci arrested in Istanbul hours after promo for coup film released, showing deaths of president's family and his impending execution
The trailer shows the moments before the apparent execution of Erdogan (screengrab)

ISTANBUL, Turkey – A Turkish producer has been arrested as a coup conspirator after the release of a film trailer that shows the moments before the apparent execution of the president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ali Avci was arrested at his house hours after the release of the trailer for Uyanis - "Awakening" - and was charged with being a supporter of the US-based Turkish preacher Fettulah Gulen, whom authorities hold responsible for orchestrating last July's failed coup.   

According to Avci, the film is based on the night of the coup and contains scenes where Erdogan's family members are killed by putchists and one where a general holds a gun to Erdogan's head as he prays.

Erdogan's fate in the film was unclear from the trailer. The film was in the post-production stage, according to Avci.

The president's supporters were enraged by the scenes where his family is killed and he himself is threatened with death.

The pro-government news site Superhaber ran the story on the trailer on Wednesday with the headline "Stop this disgrace".

The trailer also drew strong responses on social media.

Translation: The disgrace of a film called Uyanis will be banned. 

How is this even possible... the trailer of the disgraceful film called Uyanis has been broadcast.  

Translation: Stop this disgrace. The great disgrace in the film Uyanis.

RT_Erdogan's family is killed and a gun pointed at his head. This nation will ask for justice regarding you all.

Other users were in a more humorous mood. One said the producer should have been arrested when the earlier Erdogan biopic he produced flopped.

Translation: The director of Uyanis has been arrested for being a FETO member.

He should actually have been detained when the film Reis only got a rating of 1.6 out of 10 on IMDB.

Avci is also the producer of Reis, a biopic detailing Erdogan's childhood in an Istanbul working-class area and his rise to power.

The film, released in March, was a major flop.

Erdogan did not attend any screenings of the film, which was released at more than 300 screens in Turkey alone.

Police also said Avci was harbouring another wanted Gulenist in his Istanbul house when they went to arrest him, according to the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet.

Fetullah Karabiber, an academic at Istanbul's Yildiz Technical University, was being sought by police and is believed to be a user of ByLock, an encrypted messaging system that, according to officials, Gulenists used to communicate with each other.

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The government has organised a wide range of events to mark the anniversary of the defeat of the coup attempt.

Public buildings and spaces in Istanbul have been adorned with giant posters and signs inviting the public to these commemorative events.

One set of such posters, however, has come in for criticism for depicting Turkish soldiers crying and with their heads bowed in defeat.

Critics said the demeaning of Turkish soldiers is unacceptable and sends the wrong message that the entire armed forces were behind the coup attempt.

Meanwhile, chaotic scenes were reported during the court session where the case of those involved in trying to assassinate Erdogan while on holiday in Marmaris on the night of the coup was being heard after one of the suspects arrived in a t-shirt with the word Hero in English printed across the front.

Gokhan Guclu, one of those implicated in the case, refused to change his t-shirt. He was sent back to prison.