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Bend woman fears for friends in Turkish unrest

By Joe Burns
Published On: Jun 02 2013 09:45:05 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 02 2013 09:45:14 PM CDT

As clashes break out in Turkey, a Bend woman with strong ties to the country checks on friends and family.

BEND, Ore. -

As clashes in Turkey continue to break out throughout the country, a Bend woman is concerned for the safety of her friends who live there.

Milea Butler lived in Turkey for a year. Her mother lived there for two years, teaching at an international school.

And she knows very well those areas that are now occupied by protesters.

The protest began over a shopping center, but has now turned into a bigger protest asking for the resignation of the prime minister in Turkey.

Butler said Sunday that this was bound to happen.

She was waiting for Turkey's turn to reform after the "Arab Spring" protests in Egypt two years ago.

Butler said she has been using Skype all day with her friends in Turkey.

One of her friends told her the government has shut down the Internet in the protest area.
 
And Butler said she wants Central Oregon to think of the people in the country.

"I want them to send their prayers for them, the people that are fighting for their rights," Butler said. "The rights we have for the democratic system we have that they want, because that's what these protests are over.

"They are a secular nation, and they are currently (run) by someone who they elected democratically, but who is acting in a more dictatorship sort of way."

"One of my friends was walking around with her mom after one of the protests, and her and her mother were both hit in the face with pepper spray by police officers," Butler said. "So it's very serious -- it's very real."

Butler said she believes the protests will have a similar impact to the ones in Egypt and other Arab countries.

She also said the Turkish people are passionate, honest and powerful people, so that if they unite, they can have a big impact.

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