Netflix has canceled production of Turkish original ‘If Only’ over government censorship of a gay character in the script, a source close to the streamer has confirmed.
The announced show was to have been produced by Turkish production powerhouse Ay Yapim and has been described in promotional materials as the story of “Reyhan who is unhappy and disappointed in her marriage with Nadir.” Ay Yapim has declined to comment.
Turkish authorities denied permission for “If Only” production to take place in the country after reviewing the script, in which one of the five characters was gay. Netflix refused to change the script and opted instead to cancel production of the show, while paying all pre–production costs, the source said.
Ay Yapim also produces another Netflix Turkey original, “Love 101” (pictured), which recently stirred controversy in Turkey when speculation began circulating on Twitter in April that a character on the show would be revealed to be gay, reportedly irking Turkey’s media authority. A Netflix spokesman has confirmed the show does not have a gay character.
Off the back of “If Only’s” cancellation, local reports in Turkey speculated that Netflix would pull all of its productions in the country. Variety has confirmed, however, that the streaming giant will continue with other projects.
“Netflix remains deeply committed to our Turkish members and the creative community in Turkey. We are proud of the incredible talent we work with,” the Netflix spokesperson said. “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.”
Netflix currently has five Turkish originals in various stages of production. The streamer’s first Turkish original “The Protector” has been a global hit and is considered a game-changer in terms of disrupting production models and storylines in Turkey’s TV market.