On 7 September 2018, Turkish filmmaker Ali Avci was convicted of being a member of a terrorist group and jailed for six years and three months over his feature film portraying President Erdogan at gunpoint, reported Reuters.
The movie Uyanış (Awakening) is based on the failed coup of July 2016. Its controversial trailer showing a gun being pointed at President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s head as he prays caused uproar upon its release on 13 July 2017. Avci was arrested hours later and put in pre-trial detention, according to Turkey Purge.
An Istanbul court convicted the director of belonging to the Gulen movement, deemed a terrorist organisation by Turkey. Turkey alleges the US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen is the mastermind behind 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, reported Reuters.
The director told the court “If I was trying to make terrorist propaganda, I would have shown Erdogan making plans to flee, instead of the praying scene,” according to Reuters.