Netflix has decided not to move forward on production of planned Turkish drama “If Only” because of the government censorship of a gay character in the script. The series was to have been produced by Turkish production company Ay Yapim and has been described in promotional materials as the story of Reyhan, an unhappily married mother of twins, who is suddenly transported back 30 years to the night her husband proposed. Screenwriter Ece Yorenc said Netflix scrapped “If Only” after the government refused to grant it a license.
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 deputy chairman of Turkey’s ruling party, Mahir Unal, tweeted on Monday that he believed Netflix would “show greater sensitivity to Turkish culture and art with deeper co-operation” in the future.
In a statement, the company 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”.