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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Middle East
2:59 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Saudis At Odds With U.S. Over Egypt

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 4:56 am

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states are stepping in with billions of dollars for Egypt's military as it attempts to neutralize the Muslim Brotherhood as a political force. The exception is Qatar, which along with Turkey, is left to condemn the ouster of Egypt's Islamist president last month. The rift poses new challenges for U.S. policy in the region.

Middle East
2:55 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Syrian Refugees In Turkey Want U.S. Strikes, Turks Are Wary

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 5:54 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Americans have choices about how involved they want to be in Syria's civil war. Syrians have no choice, and the same is true of Syria's neighbors.

People along Turkey's border with Syria deal with errant mortar fire, refugees and lost trade. And we're going next to a Turkish village along that dividing line.

Here's NPR's Peter Kenyon.

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Ceylanpinar is one of those small Turkish villages smack on the border, and it has the scars to show for it.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAIN)

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Sports
2:05 am
Fri September 6, 2013

Olympic Committee To Announce 2020 Summer Games Host

Tokyo's 2020 candidate city logo.
Juan Mabromata AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 12:22 pm

Saturday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the International Olympic Committee will announce the host of the 2020 Summer Games. The committee is choosing from among Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo. The contenders all have strong selling points, but each also has serious issues clouding its bid.

Violent Crackdown Hangs Over Turkey's Bid

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Middle East
3:06 am
Mon September 2, 2013

Regional Leaders Confused By U.S. Delay On Syria Strike

Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al Arabi (L) and Egypt Foreign Affairs minister Nabil Fahmi (C) head a meeting of the Arab League at the body's Cairo headquarters on Sunday.
Gianluigi Guercia AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 2, 2013 5:43 am

Syria's state-run media depict President Obama as weak and indecisive after his decision to wait for a congressional vote on the use of force. Officials in Damascus remain defiant, even as the Arab League blamed the Syrian government for the use of chemical weapons.

Syria's pro-government Al-Thawra newspaper called it a "historic American retreat," and supporters of President Bashar Assad said they were teaching the world a lesson in strong leadership.

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Middle East
7:14 am
Sun September 1, 2013

Assad Supporters Cheer Obama's Decision To Wait For Syria Strike

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 9:23 am

The Syrian president's supporters celebrated when President Obama announced he would seek Congress's approval for a military strike. But rebel forces fighting for President Bashar Assad's ouster were dismayed.

Middle East
5:57 am
Sat August 31, 2013

U.N. Inspectors Leave Damascus

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 9:59 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Middle East
2:55 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

In Damascus, Army And Civilians Scramble For Safe Havens

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 5:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. U.N. weapons inspectors visited a military hospital in Damascus today. There, they saw the effects of what the Syrian government says were chemical weapons attacks by rebel fighters. The inspectors have already collected samples from a rebel-held suburb that was allegedly struck with chemical weapons more than a week ago, early on August 21st.

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Africa
3:08 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Mubarak's Release Sparks New Debate Over Egypt's Future

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was released from prison on Thursday and immediately flown to a military hospital in Cairo. The court-ordered release does not mean the end of his problems. The 85-year-old Mubarak is still facing charges of conspiracy and murder in a re-trial that could begin as early as this weekend. A small group of Mubarak supporters gathered outside the prison for his release, but overall the decision to transfer him to the hospital has not ignited any street protests.

NPR Story
10:19 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Egypt's Mubarak Released From Prison

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 10:43 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It might have seemed unthinkable just a few weeks ago, but today in Egypt, former President Hosni Mubarak was released from prison. Mubarak ruled the country as a police state for almost 30 years, but had been behind bars since the 2011 popular uprising centered in Tahrir Square, Cairo. He's still not a free man, though. Judges have ordered him kept under house arrest.

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Africa
3:22 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Checkpoints And Curfews Complicate Life For Egyptians

Originally published on Tue August 20, 2013 7:22 pm

During the 2011 uprising in Egypt, police disappeared from the streets and were replaced by neighborhood watch committees. The groups have re-emerged during the violent stand-off between Egypt's military rulers and Islamist supporters of deposed President Morsi and people are reporting incidents of theft and harassment at checkpoints.

Africa
3:13 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Egyptian Court Drops Corruption Charge Against Mubarak

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 4:58 pm

As Egypt reels from the violent standoff between the country's military rulers and Islamist supporters of deposed President Morsi, a court dropped a corruption charge against former President Hosni Mubarak. His lawyer says this clears the way for his release from jail, but other reports suggested authorities would find a way to keep him detained.

Africa
3:03 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

In Egypt, Another Day Of Clashes And Violence

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 4:22 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.

For those seeking a peaceful resolution to the crisis in Egypt, it's been a discouraging day. Protest led to at least dozens of deaths, according to state figures. Muslim Brotherhood officials put the toll higher. The Brotherhood has called for another week of demonstrations.

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The Salt
2:05 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Catch Of The Day, Grilled The Turkish Way

Anglers fish off Galata Bridge in Istanbul in 2011. The bridge is within site of the modest waterside restaurant Akin Balik.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 30, 2013 8:17 pm

Each morning as dawn breaks over the Bosphorus Strait in Turkey, a small drama repeats itself: Massive oil tankers and cargo ships slide past tiny fishing boats bobbing on the surface like bathtub toys.

These intrepid fishermen are out in all weather, in all seasons. In the winter, they catch the rich, oily anchovies, bluefish and mackerel. With spring come the turbot and sea bream, and by summer, sea bass and red mullet are being hawked by the fishmongers.

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Parallels
1:04 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Iran's New President Hints At Easing Internet Controls

Iranians surf the web at an Internet cafe in Tehran on April 28, 2013. The recently elected president, Hasan Rowhani, has suggested that he may loosen restrictions on the Internet.
Abedin Taherkenareh EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 3:10 am

Iran's President-elect Hasan Rowhani has already called for less filtering of the Internet, saying Iran must maintain its principles, but also needs to engage with the wider world.

"We should rectify our relations with the world," Rowhani said in remarks carried by Iran's Press TV. "Gone are the days when a wall could be built around the country.... Today there are no more walls."

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NPR Story
4:41 am
Sun July 7, 2013

Syrian Opposition Elects New Leader

Originally published on Sun July 7, 2013 12:21 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to stay in the Middle East, turning out attention now to Syria, where the main opposition coalition has a new leader. During meetings in Istanbul, opposition leaders elected Ahmad al-Jarba, who has close ties to Saudi Arabia. The change comes as civilians in Syria's central city of Homs are facing a fierce government assault. NPR's Peter Kenyon has more.

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: After another two-day Syrian Coalition meeting had spilled over into a third day with more to come, spokesman Khaled Saleh had some news.

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Middle East
2:25 pm
Fri July 5, 2013

Morsi's Ousting Prompts Strong Reactions Around Middle East

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 3:49 pm

The immediate reaction to the military overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi reveals how political and religious fault lines have shifted in the region. Saudi Arabia, an Islamist theocracy, quickly praised the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group Riyadh sees as a rival. Also cheering was Syria's Bashar al-Assad, whom the Saudis are trying to help force from power.

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Parallels
1:08 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

Thanks, But No: Social Media Refuses To Share With Turkey

An anti-government protester wearing a gas mask uses a cellphone to read the news on social media as demonstrators gather at midnight in Istanbul's Taksim Gezi Park on June 13.
Ozan Kose AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 26, 2013 1:37 pm

Turkey's battle with the Internet took a new twist on Wednesday.

A Turkish government minister said Twitter has refused to cooperate with the government, but that Facebook had responded "positively" and was "in cooperation with the state."

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World
3:10 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Turkey's Protests Are An Impediment For Its Prime Minister

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 9:54 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In Turkey over the weekend, police used water cannons against demonstrators in Taksim Square. The latest confrontation comes at a delicate time. Turkey is waiting a decision on whether it will host the 2020 Olympic Games.

NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul that Turks are wondering if the government will react with even tighter restrictions on descent, or bend to demands for greater political openness.

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Middle East
3:12 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Anti-Government Protests In Turkey Reach Syrian Border

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 3:45 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

In Turkey, anti-government protests are concentrated in Istanbul and Ankara, but they have spread to many cities around the country, reaching all the way to the Syrian border.

NPR's Peter Kenyon recently visited Hatay Province and found mounting discontent and growing fear of sectarian violence.

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NPR Story
5:38 am
Sun June 16, 2013

Police Clear Protesters In Istanbul Park

Originally published on Sun June 16, 2013 8:40 pm

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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World
3:03 pm
Sat June 15, 2013

In Istanbul's Taksim Square, Cue The Piano Man

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 3:14 pm

Amid the protests and clashes in Istanbul's Taksim Square, a pianist has been hauling in his instrument at night to entertain the crowds. Each time he does, the raucous crowd stills itself while he plays. In between tunes, chants rise up and he stands on his piano bench to conduct the crowd.

NPR Story
6:00 am
Sat June 15, 2013

Turkish Protesters Refuse To Leave Gezi Park

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 2:40 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Protesters who were camped out in Istanbul's Gezi Park say they won't pack up and go home despite a government offer to avoid bulldozing the park without court approval and a public referendum. Protest organizers say that other demands such as releasing detained protesters have not been met.

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Middle East
3:14 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Some Turkish Protesters Optimistic After Meeting With Leaders

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 4:12 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Middle East
2:41 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Turkish Police Remain In Control Of Taksim Square

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 3:53 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Good morning.

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Middle East
3:16 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Police Fire Tear Gas On Protesters In Turkey

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 4:20 pm

Turkish riot police cracked down on ongoing anti-government protests in Istanbul's iconic Taksim Square on Tuesday.

The Salt
1:26 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Not Everyone Cheers Turkey's Move To Tighten Alcohol Rules

Diners drinking raki, a traditional Turkish alcoholic drink flavored with anise, at a restaurant in Istanbul.
Jodi Hilton for NPR

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 2:46 am

The ongoing anti-government protests in Turkey are about a lot of things — including a recent law to restrict the advertising and sale of alcohol. The limits aren't any more onerous than those in some other Western countries, but secular Turks see them as another step in a push by the ruling party to impose conservative social values on the population

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Middle East
2:08 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

The Changing Face, Perception Of Turkey's Prime Minister

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 3:38 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.

Clashes continue today in Turkey. On one side, police. On the other, protestors angry with what they consider the heavy hand of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Even the Black Sea province of Rize, where Erdogan hails from, has seen fighting. Once considered a model politician in a complicated region, Erdogan now faces the strongest challenge of his decade in office.

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Middle East
3:49 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Deep Difference Stall Talks Of Syrian Opposition Council

Originally published on Thu May 30, 2013 9:47 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government forces aren't the only concern for Syria's rebels. The opposition coalition is struggling with deep and perhaps irreconcilable differences within its own ranks. Diplomats from the U.S., Europe, and Arab states have converged on an opposition meeting in Istanbul in what appears to be a last-ditch attempt to resolve some of those differences. If the effort fails, observers fear it will mean an end to efforts to convene direct talks between the opposition and Assad's government.

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Middle East
3:29 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Opposition In Syria Stalls Peace Talks Decision

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 8:47 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Middle East
3:34 am
Fri May 24, 2013

Iranian Council Declares Ex-President Rafsanjani Unfit To Run Again

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 11:58 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Iran's Guardian Council does not hesitate to use its power. That's the legislative body that vets political candidates for their commitment to the Islamic Revolution. Perhaps no surprise in the upcoming presidential election, voters are able to choose from a very narrow range of candidates - all of whom support the regime. All the high-profile or independent candidates have been eliminated by the Guardian Council. And this caused some shock - those include a man who has already held the post of president.

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