Netflix cancels production of Turkish series If Only after being asked to censor gay character

Filming had already begun on drama ‘If Only’

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Netflix has cancelled production on a Turkish TV series over censorship of a gay character.

Eight-part drama If Only was announced in March and was due to be produced by production company Ay Yapim, who had also made Netflix Turkey original Love 101.

However, as reported by the Financial Times, producers were refused a filming license after Turkish authorities discovered that one of the five lead characters was going to be gay.

In response, Netflix decided to pull production rather than change the script.

If Only’s creator Ece Yörenç told Turkish film website Altyazi Fasikul (translation by FT): “Due to a gay character, permission to film the series was not granted and this is very frightening for the future.”

Yörenç said that this was despite the show not featuring any sex scenes or physical contact between the gay character and any other men.

If Only was set to follow Reyhan, an unhappily married woman who travels back 30 years in time to the moment her husband proposed to her. Filming on the series had already begun, with lead actor Özge Özpirinçci posting a picture from the set to her Instagram last week.

Acknowledging that Turkish authorities had raised issues with some Netflix scripts, a spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development party said: “Must we collectively apologise to Netflix? What do they want from us? Do we have to bless everything Netflix makes, find it proper and sanctify it? Is there no subject where we have a right to raise reservations?”

A Netflix spokesperson said: “Netflix remains deeply committed to our Turkish members and the creative community in Turkey. We are proud of the incredible talent we work with.

“We currently have several Turkish originals in production – with more to come – and look forward to sharing these stories with our members all around the world.”

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