ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish police on Wednesday arrested the producer of a film about last July’s failed coup attempt on charges of forming and leading a terrorist group, the Hurriyet daily said.
Ali Avci was detained last week after the release on social media of a trailer for his new film “Awakening”, about the failed July 15 putsch. Ceremonies were held last weekend to mark the anniversary of the coup, in which 249 people were killed.
Turkish media said the trailer for his new film had caused public uproar as it portrayed President Tayyip Erdogan’s family, including his son in-law and Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, shot dead and an army officer pointing a gun at the back of the president’s head as he prayed.
Anti-terrorist police seized Avci at his Istanbul home as well as a second man there identified as a fugitive sought for being a member of the network of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, Hurriyet said. Turkey accuses Gulen of masterminding the coup attempt, a charge he denies.
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 under emergency rule imposed last July after the coup, and extended further on Monday.
The government says the purges and constitutional changes are necessary to address security threats, while rights groups have voiced concern about the stifling of dissent under the crackdown.
Avci’s earlier film “The Chief” was released in March ahead of an April referendum on boosting the president’s powers. The film portrayed Erdogan in largely admiring terms as a child and as Istanbul mayor when he was jailed for reciting a religiously themed poem.
(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Gareth Jones)