By Richard Hack
In what was supposed to be the latest in a continuing production agreement for original Turkish content, the film series “If Only” has been cancelled. The reason given by members of its writing staff is the refusal of the Turkish government to issue a filming license for the show because of an LGBTQ character in the script. Netflix produced its first Turkish-language show, The Protector, in 2018.
In confirming the cancellation, a Netflix spokesperson said that the streaming company remained committed to the creative community in Turkey. “We are proud of the incredible talent we work with. We currently has several Turkish originals in production, with more to come, and look forward to sharing these stories with our members all around the world.”
Mahir Unal, a spokesman for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) slammed Netflix for its arrogance in even suggesting that such a scripted show should be broadcast. “Must we collectively apologize to Netflix”” he asked. “Do we have to bless everything that Netflix makes, find it proper sanctify it?”
Ironically, because homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey, the opposition to the programing is being done for cultural reasons, with homophobic comments accepted as normal behavior.
If Only is a production of Ece Yorenc, one of Turkey’s most popular screenwriters.