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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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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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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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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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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.

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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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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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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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.

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.

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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