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Netflix Scraps Turkish Original ‘If Only’ Over Government Censorship of Gay Character

Eight-part relationship drama was ordered in March

Netflix has decided to scrap production on a Turkish original series called “If Only” after Turkish officials refused them a filming license unless they removed a gay supporting character from the script.

“Netflix remains deeply committed to our Turkish members and the creative community in Turkey,” a Netflix spokesperson told TheWrap Tuesday. “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.”

The eight-part relationship drama starring Turkish actress Özge Özpirinçci was ordered in March and was being made by Turkish production outfit Ay Yapim, with Ece Yörenç serving as creator and showrunner.

Here is show’s logline, from Netflix:

“The series tells the story of Reyhan who is unhappy and disappointed in her marriage with Nadir. On 27th of July 2018 at 8:19pm, during an evening where she was feeling exhausted of her husband whom she’s known since his circumcision, of their marriage, their 9 year-old twins that were conceived as a result of a broken condom, the life she leads but mostly of herself, the strongest blood moon eclipse of the past 500 years takes place. And thanks to a miracle, Reyhan travels in time, to the turning point of her life, the night Nadir proposes to her, but this time with the wisdom of her 30 year old self.”

According to a person familiar with the situation, Turkish officials are allowed to see scripts before they approve or deny filming permits. Producers would not have been able to continue filming “If Only” in Turkey unless they removed the gay character from the script, so the decision was made to cease production rather than give up creative control of the project.

Netflix currently has three other Turkish Originals on the platform, including “Love 101,” “The Protector,”  and “The Gift,” the latter of which has been renewed for a third season. The streaming service has at least two other series in development.