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
3:39 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Iran's Political Infighting Continues, Despite Calls To Maintain Calm

Iran's raucous political infighting shows no sign of calming down, despite the best efforts of the political leadership. With presidential elections slated for June, new competitors are applying to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, while the president continues to lash out at the powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps and, indirectly, at supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Meanwhile, a riot among farmers in Isfahan recently suggests that public unhappiness with the economy will be an important issue in the campaign.

The Salt
3:34 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

In Kazakhstan, No Horror At Horse Meat

Signs advertise the type of meat sold in each section of the Green Market in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
Sly06/Flickr

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 4:24 pm

Though the thought of horse meat in British lasagna or Ikea meatballs may be stomach-churning to some people, in some cultures the practice of eating horse meat is not just acceptable, it's a treat. NPR's Peter Kenyon just returned from the Central Asian republic of Kazakhstan and checked out the meat market at the Green Bazaar in Almaty.

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Middle East
3:19 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Iran Nuclear Talks Set Stage For Future Bargaining

Originally published on Wed February 27, 2013 3:57 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Today, in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Iran and six world powers including the U.S. wrapped up two days of talks. No breakthroughs, but Iran is considering a proposal that would impose new restrictions on its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of some economic sanctions. The two sides will return to Kazakhstan for another meeting in early April. NPR's Peter Kenyon has this report from the scene of the negotiations.

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Middle East
3:20 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

International Negotiations Continue Over Iran's Nuclear Program

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 5:05 pm

Another round of negotiations on Iran's suspect nuclear program got underway Tuesday in the Kazakhstani city of Almaty. Iran's envoys are pushing for relief from a vast array of economic sanctions while the U.S. and its partners in the so-called P-5 plus Germany are looking for signs that Tehran is prepared to roll back its nuclear program.

Middle East
4:30 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Iran's Presidential Election Could Interfere With Nuclear Talks

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 7:41 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

President Obama's re-election briefly raised hopes that in a second term the U.S. might be able to engage with Iran, possibly even direct talks between the two countries. Then, harsher rhetoric set in, and now a less ambitious round of talks involving several countries is set to get underway. Iran has long been under pressure over its nuclear program which Western nations suspect is aimed at creating nuclear weapons.

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Sports
4:12 am
Fri February 15, 2013

Turks Desire 'Reversal' In Olympic Wrestling Move

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 6:39 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This week's news that the International Olympic Committee has decided to drop wrestling from the list of core Olympic sporting events has caused acute pain in Turkey. Wrestling is revered there as an ancestral sport.

In this letter from Istanbul, NPR's Peter Kenyon tells us that Turks plan to take the IOC decision to the mat.

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: The Turks don't claim either to have invented wrestling or to be the best in the world at it. They do love it though, and closely followed the matches at the London Games last year.

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Middle East
3:06 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Iran's President Draws Long-Simmering Feud Out Into The Open

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 5:09 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Iran's unpredictable president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is nearing the end of his final term in office and he has apparently decided to go out with a bang. The president has dragged a long-simmering feud with one of Iran's most powerful political families out into the open. It features hidden camera videos and allegations of corruption and it has prompted an urgent call for calm from the country's Supreme Leader. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul on what looks to be an unexpectedly lively campaign season in Iran.

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Middle East
1:25 am
Tue February 5, 2013

In Syrian Conflict, Real-Time Evidence Of Violations

Syrians look for survivors amid the rubble of a building targeted by a missile in the al-Mashhad neighborhood of Aleppo on Jan. 7.
AFP Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 11:47 am

There are growing calls for Syria's leaders to face war crimes charges for the fierce assaults against rebel targets and civilian areas. If that happens, veterans of past war crimes prosecutions say, Syrians will have one big advantage: The widespread gathering of evidence across the country is happening often in real time.

After visiting a Syrian refugee camp in southeastern Turkey recently, Robert Ford, the U.S. ambassador to Syria, reacted sharply to a question that suggested Washington, D.C., has kept quiet about the Syrian regime's attacks.

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Middle East
1:03 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Iran's Leader Embraces Facebook; Fellow Iranians Are Blocked

Iranian authorities are using cyberpolice units to crack down on people who try to access banned websites, including social media sites such as Facebook. Here, Iranians use computers at an Internet cafe in Tehran in January.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 8:29 am

When Iran's supreme leader got a Facebook page in December, Iranians sat up and blinked.

Some thought it was a fake, finding it hard to believe that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei would be using a technology that his own government blocks. A U.S. State Department spokeswoman skeptically wondered how many "likes" it would attract.

But some of Khamenei's supporters quickly rallied behind the move, which first came to light in a reference on — you guessed it — the ayatollah's Twitter account.

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Middle East
4:02 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

Suicide Bombing At U.S. Embassy In Turkey Kills Security Guard

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 5:17 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.

CORNISH: And we begin this hour with a report on today's suicide bombing in Turkey. The target, the U.S. embassy in Ankara. The attack killed two people, a guard and the bomber. The White House called it an act of terror but had no information on the motive behind the blast. Turkish authorities identified the bomber as a member of an outlawed left-wing group. NPR's Peter Kenyon has our story from Istanbul.

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Middle East
4:09 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Iran's 2009 Crackdown Resonates With Exiles In Turkey

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 11:09 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Iran is preparing for a presidential election set for June. The last election back in 2009 was followed by massive protests after hard line president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner. Iran then brutally cracked down and thousands of Iranians fled into exile. NPR's Peter Kenyon met with many of them in neighboring Turkey. He found memories of the regime's crackdown still fresh and little hope things will improve with the next election.

(SOUNDBITE OF TRAFFIC)

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Middle East
3:45 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Turkey Promises Peace Talks With Kurdish Militants, Despite Paris Killings

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 5:54 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The government of Turkey is vowing to push ahead with efforts to end its long-running conflict with Kurdish militants. That's despite the killings last week of three female Kurdish activists that were shot in Paris. The murders are seen as an effort to derail the peace talks before they gain traction.

As NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul, Turkey, Turkey has pushed for peace before. But many wonder if the lessons from past failures have been absorbed.

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Middle East
3:17 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Turkey's AK Party Still Defies Easy Categorization

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 4:10 pm

It's been a decade since a coalition of Islamic and secular political parties formed the AKP, or Justice and Development Party, and swept to power in Turkey. Warnings from secular Turks about a secret agenda to impose Sharia law on the country proved groundless, and yet ten years into AKP rule, secular unease is on the rise again. European Union-style political and social reforms have ground to a halt in the past 18 months, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan seems bent on converting Turkey to a strong presidential system with himself at the helm, possibly for another decade.

Europe
1:23 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Prime Minister Finds Soap Opera's Turkish Delights In Bad Taste

Eggs streak down a billboard advertising the popular Turkish soap opera The Magnificent Century. The show focuses on palace intrigue during the 16th-century rule of Suleiman the Magnificent. Some Islamists have protested the show's depiction of the sultan's harem.
Murad Sezer Reuters via Landov

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 4:27 am

Suleiman the Magnificent was the longest-reigning sultan of the Ottoman Empire, presiding for nearly a half-century at the peak of the empire's power in the 16th century.

During Suleiman's rule from 1520 to 1566, the Ottomans were a political, economic and military powerhouse. Suleiman's forces sacked Belgrade, annexed much of Hungary and advanced across large parts of the Middle East and North Africa.

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Middle East
1:54 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Head Of Military Police Defects To Syrian Opposition

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:24 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel and we begin this hour with fighting in Syria and the terrible impact of that fighting on children. In a few minutes, we'll hear from a refugee camp in Turkey, where families have fled the violence. First, today the Syrian regime appeared to suffer another high level defection. NPR's Peter Kenyon is monitoring that news and other developments from Istanbul.

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: The day began with rebel fighters announcing a new offensive in the northern Raqqa Province.

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Middle East
4:30 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Syria Airstrike Update

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 5:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

International envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met with Syrian leaders today hoping to solve that country's bloody conflict, but the bloodshed goes on. There are reports of explosions in Damascus today, government forces are battling rebel fighters, and civilians continue to perish in large numbers. The relentless violence, including an airstrike yesterday on a bakery, is draining hope for any diplomatic solution. NPR's Peter Kenyon filed this report from Istanbul.

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Middle East
1:28 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

In Istanbul, A Byzantine-Era Fleet Surfaces Again

Archaeologists call an excavation site on Istanbul's southern shore the world's largest shipwreck collection. The area, unearthed during construction of a railway station, was once a Byzantine-era port that harbored cargo and military vessels, and received goods from around the Mediterranean.
Gokce Saracoglu for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 6:24 pm

In Istanbul, major public transit projects are back under way after years of paralysis. The problem wasn't a lack of financing, but the layer upon layer of ancient artifacts that turned up every time the earthmovers started their work.

The excavation began eight years ago on projects intended to ease Istanbul's notoriously clogged traffic.

The job included building a tunnel under the Bosphorus Strait and linking it to a rail and subway network. When the dig was stopped several years ago, eyes rolled and shoulders shrugged.

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Middle East
5:43 am
Thu November 29, 2012

Is Iran Ready For A New Round Of Nuclear Talks?

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 6:39 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

There are increasing signals from Iran that it's open to a new round of talks on its suspect nuclear program. The last round was held in Moscow in June. And with the American campaign season over, new diplomatic efforts are being explored.

But domestic politics - this time in Iran - may still limit what can be achieved at the negotiating table, as NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul.

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Middle East
5:33 am
Sun November 25, 2012

Bullet Dodged In Turkey, But Kurdish Conflict Lingers

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Middle East
2:43 am
Thu November 22, 2012

Ruling Party's Shift Causes Consternation In Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman shake hands in front of the media after giving a statement in Jerusalem last month. Netanyahu said his Likud Party will join forces with the hard-line party of his foreign minister in upcoming parliamentary elections.
Bernat Armangue AP

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 8:02 am

Some analysts have suggested that one impetus for the Israeli military strikes in Gaza is the upcoming election season in Israel. With elections set for January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu changed the political landscape last month by announcing that his Likud Party would run along with a right-wing party led by hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

Likud Party leaders complained that they were left in the dark before the prime minister effectively vaulted Lieberman into the No. 2 political position.

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Middle East
3:24 am
Sat November 10, 2012

As Turkey Rises, 'A Real Problem' With Censorship

Kurdish women hold pictures of jailed journalists in Istanbul on Sept. 10, during the start of the trial of 44 journalists with suspected links to rebels from the Kurdistan Workers' Party.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 10, 2012 12:25 pm

Nearly two years ago, Soner Yalcin and more than a dozen of his employees at the online news outlet OdaTV joined the growing list of incarcerated Turkish journalists. Yalcin, the owner of OdaTV, is one of the sharpest critics of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government.

As their trial proceedings dragged on, challenges to the state's case grew, and most of the outlet's journalists were released, pending the trial's conclusion. But Yalcin and two others remain behind bars, 22 months and counting.

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It's All Politics
1:25 pm
Sat October 27, 2012

Among Israelis, Romney Appears The Favorite

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney places a prayer note during a visit to the Western Wall in Jerusalem in July. Israel is one of the few foreign countries where residents have a clear preference for Romney over President Obama.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 7:51 am

Israelis view the American presidential election much the way they tend to view most issues: What does it mean for Israel?

And by a wide margin, Israelis seem to believe that Republican candidate Mitt Romney would be more attentive to Israel's interests than President Obama.

The Peace Index Poll, commissioned by Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute, found that Romney was favored 2-to-1 by Israelis back in August.

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Israeli-Palestinian Coverage
3:57 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Airstrikes Dampen Mood In Gaza On Eid Al-Adha

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 6:45 pm

The religious holiday Eid al-Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, began on Friday across the Muslim world. What is normally a time of celebration is for the 1.6 million residents of the Gaza Strip a reminder of their desperate financial straits after five years of Israeli blockade. This week's fierce exchange of Palestinian rockets and Israeli air and artillery strikes has also sparked fears of another Israeli military operation in Gaza.

Middle East
3:43 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Qatari Emir First World Leader To Visit Gaza In Years

Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 7:48 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

The Emir of Qatar visited the Gaza Strip today. He's the first world leader to do so since 2007, when the Islamist movement Hamas seized control of the Palestinian territory and Israel responded with a blockade. The emir called on Hamas to reconcile with the rival Fatah movement. He also promised some $400 million in reconstruction projects, as NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Gaza.

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Middle East
2:12 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

In A Ravaged Syrian Village, Planning For The Future

Rebels of the Free Syrian Army sit on top of a military truck captured from the Syrian army in the village of Khirbet al-Joz along the Turkish border in northern Syria on Oct. 7, in this photo provided by the Edlib News Network, ENN. The rebels hope to put a civilian council in charge and believe such moves could help pave the way for a secular, democratic Syria.
AP

Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 6:00 pm

The rebels of the Free Syrian Army recently retook the small farming village of Khirbet al-Joz, just across the border from Turkey. Soon after, Syrian men who had been in Turkish refugee camps returned to the village to see what had happened to their homes.

Activists from a group called the Syrian Emergency Task Force also visited Khirbet al-Joz and filmed video of villagers as they toured the charred ruins.

One man points to a hole in the wall: "Look, this is where the rocket entered. These are Bashar's reforms," he says, referring to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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Middle East
1:03 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Turks Fear What Syria's War Will Bring

Turkish soldiers stand near the Turkey-Syria border in Akcakale, Turkey, early Friday.
AP

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 6:16 pm

In Turkey's southern Hatay province, it is harvest time — the second harvest since the uprising began in neighboring Syria.

In the village of Hacipasa, Turkey, located right along the Syrian border, children play alongside tents on the edge of the farm fields. The tents belong not to Syrian refugees, but to Turkish farmworkers helping to bring in the cotton, tomatoes, peppers and pomegranates waiting to be harvested.

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Middle East
3:47 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Turkey-Syria Tensions High After Plane Is Diverted

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 3:13 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

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World
4:54 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Turks Protest Government's Hardline Against Syria

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 9:25 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Nearly a week of attacks, back and forth across the border between Turkey and Syria is causing worry in the world's capitals, U.N. and inside Turkey itself. Turkey's leaders have been talking tough, which in turn has spurred some Turks to take to the streets in protest against a possible war with Syria. NPR'S Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul.

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Middle East
2:45 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Economic Analysts Wary As Israel-Iran Tensions Rise

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 9:47 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

The possibility that Israel may launch an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities has sparked heated debate, and not only in policy circles. Analysts in the Persian Gulf region and beyond are contemplating the economic impact of a military conflict. NPR's Peter Kenyon just returned from a trip to the Persian Gulf and has this report.

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Middle East
2:51 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

U.S. Naval Exercises Send Message In The Tense Gulf

A U.S. Navy boat is lowered to the sea from the deck of the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf on Sept. 22. More than 30 nations are participating in an exercise responding to simulated sea-mine attacks in international waters amid rising tension with Iran.
Hasan Jamali AP

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 9:44 am

The U.S. military, along with more than 30 allied countries, has just launched a new round of naval exercises in the Persian Gulf at a time when tensions in the region are running particularly high.

But U.S. officials say the aim is not to increase anxiety, but rather to ensure stability. More specifically, the exercises are designed to deal with mines that could hamper shipping in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world's oil supply transits.

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