Sep 07 2018

Turkish director sentenced for film depicting Erdoğan deposed in coup

Turkish filmmaker Ali Avcı was convicted on Friday of membership of a terrorist organisation on Friday for shooting a feature film that shows the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, brought low in a military coup.

A trailer for Avcı’s feature film “Awakening,” based on the failed July 2016 coup attempt, caused uproar in Turkey for depicting Erdoğan held at gunpoint by a military officer and his soldiers, who are shown to have killed members of the president’s family including his son-in-law, Berat Albayrak.

A court in Istanbul handed the director a sentence of six years and three months for membership of the Gülen religious movement, which is blamed for plotting the coup attempt.

The court said the film had been produced as part of the movement’s “perception campaign.”

In reality, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) survived the coup attempt after Erdoğan evaded capture and called on Turkish citizens to take the streets. Hundreds were killed on the night.

Avcı denied the charges against him, arguing that his portrayal of Erdoğan praying calmly as the coup plotters hold a gun to his head showed the president in a good light.

Ironically, a previous project of Avcı’s called “The Chief” (Reis), a biopic of Erdoğan during his earlier years, has been criticised for being an uncritical hagiography of the Turkish president.