Netflix cancels Turkish drama after the government banned them from filming because it featured a gay character
- Netflix scrapped If Only after govt. refused to grant licence, screenwriter said
- Turkish screenwriter Ece Yorenc said production was stopped on eve of filming
- ‘It’s very scary that because of a gay character, filming was not allowed,’ she said
A row over Turkish censorship has deepened after a writer claimed that work on a new Netflix show was cancelled because it contained a gay character.
As Netflix’s subscriber numbers grow in Turkey so has the number of original television shows produced there and the first Turkish feature film was made available on the streaming entertainment service in June.
But Turkish screenwriter Ece Yorenc told a film website that production of her show, If Only, was stopped a day before it was to begin because the government would not issue a licence needed for foreign productions.
Turkish screenwriter Ece Yorenc (pictured) told a film website that production of her show, If Only, was stopped a day before it was to begin because the government would not issue a licence needed for foreign productions.
Netflix did not wish to bow to Ankara’s demands and cancelled the show after talks with Turkey’s audiovisual authority RTUK, Yorenc said.
‘It’s very scary that because of a gay character, filming was not allowed,’ Yorenc told the Altyazi Fasikul website on Sunday.
While media production in the West has become more diverse, there has been a noted absence of individuals representing the LGBT community in Netflix’s Turkish offerings.
Days before the new Turkish series, Love 101, was put on the service in April, there was speculation on social media that one of the characters, Osman, was gay.
But in the end, there were no references to his sexuality in the show, which centred on five high school students including two heterosexual couples by the end.
Osman remained single throughout.
There were unconfirmed rumours that Netflix would withdraw from Turkey, but the service dismissed such speculation on Monday.
‘We are deeply committed to our members in Turkey and the creative community,’ Netflix Turkey said in a statement.
The deputy chairman of Turkey’s ruling party Mahir Unal tweeted Monday that he believed Netflix would ‘show greater sensitivity to Turkish culture, and art with deeper cooperation’ in the future.