Peter Kenyon

Peter Kenyon is NPR's international correspondent based in Istanbul, Turkey.

Prior to taking this assignment in 2010, Kenyon spent five years in Cairo covering Middle Eastern and North African countries from Syria to Morocco. He was part of NPR's team recognized with two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University awards for outstanding coverage of post-war Iraq.

In addition to regular stints in Iraq, he has followed stories to Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Qatar, Algeria, Morocco and other countries in the region.

Arriving at NPR in 1995, Kenyon spent six years in Washington, D.C., working in a variety of positions including as a correspondent covering the US Senate during President Bill Clinton's second term and the beginning of the President George W. Bush's administration.

Kenyon came to NPR from the Alaska Public Radio Network. He began his public radio career in the small fishing community of Petersburg, where he met his wife Nevette, a commercial fisherwoman.

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Parallels
1:03 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Istanbul's Mega-Projects: Bigger Is Better, Or A 'Crazy Canal'?

The pillars for the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, commonly known as the "Third Bridge" rise from the Anatolian and European sides of the Bosphorus, above the fishing harbor of Poyrazkoy. When completed, the bridge will be over two kilometers in length, making it the longest combination railway/highway bridge in the world.
Jodi Hilton for NPR

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:12 am

Istanbul has long been a city of historical layers and sharp contrasts: ancient monuments share the skyline none too comfortably with modern skyscrapers, and charming cobbled streets run alongside massive highway traffic snarls.

Those contrasts have multiplied under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his love of giant building projects hasn't abated after more than a decade in power.

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Middle East
3:11 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Syria Peace Talks Take A Break

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:51 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

No tangible results, that verdict today from Syria's foreign minister as peace talks wrapped up in Geneva. Despite the lack of progress, opposition delegates say they gained new support by standing face to face with representatives of Bashar al-Assad. The U.N. mediator is asking both sides to return to talks on February 10th. NPR's Peter Kenyon is in Geneva and begins our coverage.

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Middle East
4:32 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Syrian Opposition Group Treads New Territory In Geneva

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 6:00 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The first round of the Syria peace talks is set to adjourn tomorrow. The opposition delegation is expecting to leave Geneva without progress toward its top goal: a transitional government that ends the tenure of President Bashar al-Assad. The opposition began these talks with a reputation as a fractious and ineffective group.

And NPR's Peter Kenyon reports the delegates have been surprised and pleased to see messages of support beginning to come from inside Syria.

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Middle East
3:01 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

At Syria Talks, Sides Meet In Person — But Don't See Eye To Eye

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 5:56 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

At the Syria talks in Geneva today, government and opposition representatives held their first face-to-face discussion about a political transition. By the end of the day, United Nations' mediator Lakhdar Brahimi had no progress to report. He urged both sides to focus on the desperate humanitarian situation facing Syrians in several besieged cities.

NPR's Peter Kenyon has more from Geneva.

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Middle East
2:47 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Turkish Opposition Eyes Its Opportunity In March

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 8:38 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Over the next 17 months, Turkey will see three elections: local and presidential elections this year, followed by parliamentary voting next year. With Turkey's political landscape unsettled by scandals and growing voter discontent, even the local elections are drawing intense interest and that is especially true in Istanbul. As NPR's Peter Kenyon reports, the secular opposition sees the mayor's race there as its best chance in a decade of scoring a win over the dominant ruling party.

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Middle East
3:26 am
Mon January 20, 2014

As Iranian Nuclear Deal Starts, Second Round Of Talks Loom Large

The reactor building of the Bushehr nuclear power plant just outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran, in 2010.
Majid Asgaripour AP

Originally published on Mon January 20, 2014 11:03 am

Day one of a six-month period of reduced Iranian nuclear activity and a slight easing of economic sanctions begins Monday. The interim accord may be a high-water mark for nuclear diplomacy, but soon negotiators must begin to fashion a comprehensive nuclear accord in the face of widespread skepticism.

Each side is sniping at the other's interpretation of the relatively modest steps agreed to thus far.

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Middle East
3:05 am
Fri January 10, 2014

Turkish Scandal Shines Light On 'Shadowy' Muslim Leader

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 10:45 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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World
3:40 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Political Feud In Turkey Makes For Unlikely Allies

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 8:29 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

In Turkey, a widespread corruption scandal appears to be forcing an odd alliance. On one side is the prime minister, a conservative Muslim. On the other are members of the secular military establishment. As NPR's Peter Kenyon reports, Turkey's leader has done the political equivalent of a 180. He's defending generals who were imprisoned on his watch, while denouncing his own prosecutors.

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Middle East
3:03 am
Mon December 30, 2013

2013 Was A Breakthrough Year For Nuclear Diplomacy

Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 5:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And as the hours are counted down towards the end of 2013, we're looking back at some of the stories that helped define the year that was. And one of the most significant moments this year - after years of resisting, Iran reached an agreement with the U.S. and other world powers to suspend much of its nuclear activity.

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Middle East
3:35 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Turkey Struggles To Set Foreign Policy In Changing Neighborhood

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 4:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

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Middle East
2:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Iran's Rouhani Needs A Nuke Deal To Balance Big Budget Cuts

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:30 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

Iran's President Hasan Rouhani has presented his first budget to parliament. Economists say it's remarkably different from the free-spending plans of recent years. The budget comes as negotiators are hashing out the details of Iran's nuclear program. Limiting its uranium enrichment will ease sanctions, which will help lift Iran's economy.

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Parallels
1:27 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Some Turkish Churches Get Makeovers — As Mosques

The fifth century Byzantine Stoudios monastery in Istanbul housed a church and was later turned into a mosque and then a museum before falling into disrepair.
Peter Kenyon NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:11 pm

A historically significant but now-crumbling fifth century Byzantine monastery in Istanbul is finally slated for restoration. But for Turkey's dwindling Greek community, the bad news is that the government wants to turn the Stoudios monastery into a mosque.

It's just one of several such conversions of historically Christian sites that the government is considering. And there's even talk that the Hagia Sophia, the most famous Byzantine structure in modern Istanbul, will be reconverted into a mosque.

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Middle East
3:29 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Is Easing Iran Sanctions The Right Move?

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 3:56 pm

Much of the criticism of the interim nuclear deal reached with Iran Sunday has focused on the sanctions relief Iran will receive over the next six months if it follows through on restricting its nuclear program. Although the only irreversible relief being offered is a gradual release of $4.2 billion in frozen Iranian revenue, critics warn that the "architecture of the sanctions regime has been undermined." Analysts say all the important sanctions hampering Iran's economy remain in place, but the announcement of the deal itself is having a psychological impact on markets.

Middle East
3:22 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Challenges Predicted For Next Round Of Iran Nuclear Talks

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 11:11 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

As we've heard elsewhere in the program, the nuclear agreement reached with Iran over the weekend is a temporary deal with a six-month timeline. There are plenty of unresolved issues and possibly tougher negotiations to come. NPR's Peter Kenyon has this look ahead.

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Middle East
3:37 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Cautious Optimism As Iran Nuclear Talks Resume

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 7:03 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Negotiators for Iran and six world powers returned to Switzerland to discuss limiting Iran's nuclear program. After reportedly coming close to a first-step deal earlier this month, some officials say an agreement is within reach this week. But critics warn a deal would be dangerous.

NPR's Peter Kenyon is in Geneva and has this report.

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Middle East
2:04 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Iran Nuclear Talks Break, To Resume Later This Month

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 3:52 am

Negotiators from Iran and a six-nation group are scheduled to resume talks on Iran's nuclear program in 10 days. Talks ended on Saturday after an agreement was not reached on an initial proposal to ease international sanctions against Tehran in return for some restraints on its nuclear program.

Middle East
3:18 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Iran Nuclear Talks Bring Top Diplomats, But Still No Deal

Originally published on Sun November 10, 2013 10:23 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block in Washington, D.C.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

I'm Audie Cornish, this week at NPR West in California.

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Middle East
2:43 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Suspicions Bog Down Talks On Iran's Nuclear Program

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 2:54 am

Negotiators from Iran and six world powers resume talks Thursday in Geneva on Iran's nuclear program. Iran's Supreme Leader says he's not optimistic, and U.S. officials say "no deal is better than a bad deal." Still, Iran's desire to get out from under crippling economic sanctions may drive progress forward despite the long odds.

Middle East
2:42 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

In Iran, Hard-Liners Mark Embassy Anniversary With Anti-U.S. Rally

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 1:14 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Thirty-four years ago today, Iranian followers of the Ayatollah Khomeini stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. They took 52 Americans hostage, and held them captive for more than a year. And today, as has happened on this day ever since, thousands of Iranian hard-liners again took to the streets for what they call Death to America Day.

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Europe
4:46 am
Sat November 2, 2013

Turkey's 'Rockin' Imam' Inspires Youth, Tests Boundaries

Tuzer says there's nothing in his lyrics that could offend, but religious conservatives have opened an investigation into his musical activities.
Courtesy Ahmet Muhsin Tuzer

Originally published on Sat November 2, 2013 1:10 pm

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Parallels
4:00 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Ottoman Dream Come True: Train Links East And West In Istanbul

A Marmaray Project train awaits its inauguration ceremony in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Ozan Kose AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 7:04 pm

The Marmaray Project, Turkey's new underwater rail link between the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, is open for business. It's the first of its kind, a modern feat of engineering that realizes the 150-year-old dream of an Ottoman sultan.

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NPR Story
3:15 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Will Hard-Line Critics Scuttle Iranian Talks?

Originally published on Sun November 3, 2013 6:55 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne. Good morning.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. The diplomatic push to answer questions about Iran's nuclear program has generated some hope for a peaceful solution. It has also inspired a backlash and negative response in both Iran and the West. On both sides, conservatives who would not normally agree about much seem to agree that nuclear negotiations are a dangerous idea that could produce what they would see as a bad deal.

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Middle East
3:56 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Turkish Cease-Fire With Kurish Militants Hangs By A Thread

Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 10:15 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

To Turkey now and the fragile, seven-month cease-fire between Kurdish militants and the Turkish government. The long-running conflict has claimed some 35,000 lives, and the peace deal that stopped the bloodshed is now in jeopardy. The problem, NPR's Peter Kenyon reports, is that both sides want the peace process to speed up.

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Middle East
2:27 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

No Deal, But Progress, As Iran Nuclear Talks Wrap Up

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 4:39 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

Talks on Iran's nuclear program ended today in Geneva. The outcome? Inconclusive but hopeful. Negotiators agreed that Iran has put forward an important proposal that needs to be fleshed out.

As NPR's Peter Kenyon reports, all eyes turn now to another round of talks early next month.

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Middle East
2:51 pm
Mon October 14, 2013

Can Iran, The West Overcome Distrust To Make A Nuclear Deal?

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 4:19 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Tomorrow, nuclear negotiators for Iran and six world powers will meet in Geneva. It's a chance to see whether positive signals from Iran's new president can be translated into real progress at the table. Iran wants punitive sanctions lifted, but it's insisting on its right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.

NPR's Peter Kenyon reports that with hardliners waiting in the wings, momentum toward an agreement needs to be generated quickly.

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Parallels
1:21 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Iran's Leaders Send Sobering Message: No Quick Economic Fix

Two Iranian textile merchants wait for customers in Tehran's main bazaar. President Hassan Rouhani has raised hopes by reaching out to the West and promising to work for an end to sanctions. But his team has cautioned that the country's economic problems have deep roots.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 2:21 am

The U.S. and its Western allies have not been able to win the nuclear concessions they have sought from Iran. But they have been able to inflict considerable economic pain through sanctions.

But now, Iran's call for a nuclear agreement and an end to sanctions has raised hopes among Iranians that better economic times may be ahead. The Iranian currency has stabilized somewhat since the election of President Hassan Rouhani, although inflation and unemployment remain high.

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Middle East
2:32 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

Turkish PM Pushes Reforms For Religious Minorities, Kurds

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 8:09 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

Today in Turkey, the government announced a new package of democratic reforms. The package includes granting some rights long sought by the Kurdish minority. A tenuous peace process between the military and Kurdish militants is hanging in the balance.

NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul that the proposed reforms would also lift a ban on women wearing headscarves in some state institutions.

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World
3:55 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Optimism Surrounds Iranian President's Visit To New York

Originally published on Mon September 23, 2013 6:38 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Iran's new president addresses the United Nations in New York tomorrow. The speech comes amid near daily signals that Tehran is eager to engage with the West and resolve some long-standing issues. Under moderate cleric Hassan Rouhani, Iran has released political prisoners, launched a new push to resolve questions about its nuclear program and offered to help mediate the conflict in Syria.

NPR's Peter Kenyon has more on this new Iranian image and the hope and skepticism it's stirring.

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Middle East
3:07 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Turkey's Lira Falls To Its Lowest Value In Years

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 5:07 pm

Potential changes in economic policy from Washington have sent tremors throughout emerging economies. In Turkey, where growth in recent years has put Eurozone economies to shame, the signs are troubling: The Turkish lira has fallen to its lowest value in years and private sector debt is soaring. Economists say continued liquidity and foreign investment remains crucial if Turkey is to avoid a hard landing.

Middle East
3:00 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Turkey's Detente With Kurdish Militants On Verge Of Collapse

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 6:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The conflict in Syria is causing problems for its neighbors beyond the violence that's spilling over their borders. In Turkey, which has strongly backed Syrian rebels, one of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's most important political efforts is in danger of collapsing.

NPR's Peter Kenyon reports on dimming hopes for a peace process between Turkey and its Kurdish minority.

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