Streaming giant Netflix has refuted claims that it will end its operations in Turkey following rumors on the company not accepting censorship demanded by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
In a statement sent to media on July 20, Netflix said that the platform continues its commitment to its members in Turkey and the creative community.
“We’re proud of the talented individuals that we’re working with. We’re very excited for our projects that are currently at the process of production and that will begin shooting soon,” Netflix said.
“We look forward to share these stories with our members all around the world,” it added.
The platform’s statement came following journalist Cüneyt Özdemir’s report on a row between Netflix and the AKP.
Özdemir claimed that no deal was reached in the discussions between the two parties over censorship, mainly on the issue of LGBT characters in series, adding that it may lead to Netflix exiting Turkey.
Earlier on July 20, AKP deputy leader Mahir Ünal tweeted on the issue, saying that Netflix Turkey didn’t have any meetings with the AKP’s media branch “on a political level” or the Communications Directorate “on an official level.”
“Why would they consider leaving Turkey?” he asked.
“I believe that Netflix will be more sensitive towards the Turkish culture and arts via a deeper cooperation,” Ünal added.
On July 6, Ünal has implied that the Turkish government pressured Netflix Turkey to change the scenario of the teen drama Love 101.
“Netflix had previously commissioned a series [to Turkish producers]; the scenario of the series was prepared, and the series was about a homosexual character named Osman,” Ünal told Özdemir on July 6.
Ünal’s remarks have exposed the censorship imposed on the series as none of the characters in the show are homosexual.
Homosexuality is not a crime in Turkey, but hostility to it is widespread. Authorities have cracked down on LGBT events and marches and are currently focused on the LGBT characters on Netflix, claiming that watching those characters has a bad influence on the country’s youth.