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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3:15am

Tue October 29, 2013
NPR Story

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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2:27pm

Wed October 16, 2013
Middle East

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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2:34pm

Mon October 14, 2013
NPR Story

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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1:21am

Mon October 14, 2013
Parallels

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

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

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

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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2:35pm

Wed September 18, 2013
NPR Story

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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2:05am

Fri September 6, 2013
Sports

Olympic Committee To Announce 2020 Summer Games Host

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

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

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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5:43am

Mon September 2, 2013
Middle East

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

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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10:19am

Thu August 22, 2013
NPR Story

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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2:05pm

Thu July 25, 2013
The Salt

Catch Of The Day, Grilled The Turkish Way

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

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

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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1:04am

Mon July 15, 2013
Parallels

Iran's New President Hints At Easing Internet Controls

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

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

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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4:41am

Sun July 7, 2013
NPR Story

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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3:10am

Mon June 24, 2013
World

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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3:12pm

Mon June 17, 2013
Middle East

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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5:38am

Sun June 16, 2013
NPR Story

Police Clear Protesters In Istanbul Park

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

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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1:26am

Fri June 7, 2013
The Salt

Not Everyone Cheers Turkey's Move To Tighten Alcohol Rules

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

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

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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2:02pm

Mon May 20, 2013
Parallels

Iran's 'Zahra' Tells Alternate Tale Of Presidential Campaign

Originally published on Mon May 20, 2013 11:17 pm

A panel from Amir Soltani's Zahra on the Campaign Trail. Drawing by Khalil.
Amir Soltani

Iranians choose a new president next month, and one thing Iran's leaders are intent on avoiding is a repeat of the massive street protests that followed Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's controversial re-election in 2009.

The sponsors of those protests, known as the Green Movement, have been effectively silenced inside Iran, but not online. The heroine of a graphic novel about the violent suppression of dissent in 2009 is now launching a virtual campaign of her own.

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2:57pm

Tue May 14, 2013
Middle East

A Sign of Disunity? Iranian Candidates Jockey For Position

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:15 pm

Etrat Kazemi (center) registers her candidacy for the upcoming presidential election in Tehran, Iran, last week. More than 700 people have registered to run in the June 14 election.
Ebrahim Noroozi AP

Nearly 700 presidential hopefuls have thrown their names into the ring for Iran's June 14 presidential elections. But two last-minute entrants have altered the shape of the already-chaotic race: a former president once dismissed as a has-been and Iran's chief nuclear negotiator.

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9:12am

Wed May 8, 2013
The Two-Way

Kurdish Militants Begin Historic Withdrawal From Turkey

Today marks the beginning of the pullback of thousands of militant PKK fighters from Turkey back to Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq. It's an important milestone in a delicate effort to end nearly three decades of bloodshed that have killed an estimated 35,000 people since 1984.

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3:24am

Sun May 5, 2013
World

Foreigners At Home: Turkey Beckons To Germany's Turks

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 4:39 pm

The euro crisis and Islamophobia are making Turkey more appealing to the descendants of Turkish immigrants who have been living in Germany.
Julian Finney Getty Images

In 1961, desperate to increase its labor force, West Germany signed an employment agreement with Turkey and launched a wave of immigration that continues to have repercussions today.

Now, after years of being treated as second-class citizens in Europe's economic powerhouse, large numbers of Turks — descendants of the first wave of immigrants — are returning to Turkey.

In A Strange Land

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5:38am

Sun April 21, 2013
Middle East

New Aid To Syria Comes With Fear Of Funding The Wrong Opposition

Originally published on Sun April 21, 2013 7:09 pm

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry listens in during a "Friends of Syria" group meeting hosted on Saturday in Istanbul, Turkey.
Evan Vucci AP

At an 11-nation meeting in Turkey this weekend, there was one thing the United States, European and Arab states could agree on: With more than 70,000 killed and millions of people displaced, the Syrian crisis, as Secretary of State John Kerry says, is "horrific."

In response, the Obama administration is doubling its non-lethal assistance to the Syrian opposition, Kerry announced at the meeting.

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