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.

Pages

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.

Read more
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

At 42, Ahmet Muhsin Tuzer has a modest post as imam in a small mosque in the village of Pinarbasi, near Turkey's Mediterranean coast, where he serves about 15 Sunni Muslim families. It's not the kind of place where you'd expect to find an imam attracting attention across Turkey and beyond.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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)

Read more
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

Read more
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.

Read more
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:

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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."

Read more
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.

Read more
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.

Read more
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."

Read more

Pages