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.

Today marks 90 days since the United Nations Security Council endorsed the landmark nuclear accord agreed between Iran and six world powers (the U.S., Britain, France, Germany China and Russia.) The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will unfold in a series of steps that include nuclear cutbacks made by Iran and sanctions relief offered by the other countries. The phase that begins now is of special interest to nuclear non-proliferation experts. Those wanting to keep Iran, or any...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: When nearly a hundred people were killed in a double bombing in Turkey last week, it seemed like one of those landmark tragedies, the kind of event that can unify a country at least temporarily. But this attack, possibly the work of ISIS, has left Turks possibly more divided. NPR's Peter Kenyon has been asking many people why they're saying this is not our 9/11. PETER KENYON, BYLINE: There is a sadness...

You may not have it marked on your calendar, but this coming Sunday is "adoption day." It's the day Iran must begin sharply curtailing its nuclear program as part of the landmark nuclear agreement reached this summer. Nonproliferation experts say the steps Iran is about to take will put it significantly further away from having a nuclear weapon. Critics, however, warn of the possibility of cheating. Iran doesn't see a need to call attention to adoption day. For Tehran, the point of the...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: Turkey says it is close to identifying two suicide bombers responsible for an attack at a peace rally in Ankara on Saturday. That attack left at least 97 people dead and more than 200 wounded. Turkey's prime minister says the investigation is focusing on people with ties to the so-called Islamic State. But as NPR's Peter Kenyon reports, grieving family members are also holding the government...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: The Russian air campaign that's seen daily strikes in Syria has now been going on for a full week, and it's raising regional tensions. Today, Turkey, NATO and the U.S. criticized Russian flights that left Syria over the weekend and entered Turkish airspace. Here's U.S. secretary of state John Kerry on that. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) JOHN KERRY: We're greatly concerned about it because it is...

In a remote mountain village high above Turkey's Black Sea coast, there are villagers who still communicate across valleys by whistling. Not just whistling as in a non-verbal, "Hey, you!" But actually using what they call their "bird language," Turkish words expressed as a series of piercing whistles. The village is Kuskoy, and it's inhabited by farmers who raise tea, corn, beets and other crops, and also keep livestock. The landscape is unusual by Turkish standards, and the residents are...

As refugees stream into Europe, here's something to consider: The burden being shouldered by Turkey alone dwarfs the numbers currently trying to get to Europe. Turkey has 2 million Syrians and Iraqis and has spent $7.6 billion caring for them. But here's the catch — the refugees are not allowed to seek asylum in Turkey. Of those refugees in Turkey, only about 260,000 are in camps. The vast majority live in cities around the country. Syrians in particular were allowed to move about freely...

The Greek island of Lesbos has been transformed from a dream vacation spot to a haven of a different sort — for Syrians and Iraqis, a place free from the horrors of war back home. From here, those who've survived the crossing from Turkey can try to press further on to countries in central and northern Europe. The obstacles ahead don't seem nearly as difficult as the ones they left behind. Many are carrying jagged memories of the savage violence they escaped. Their greatest hope is that their...

International sympathy for Syrians, Iraqis and other migrants traveling toward Europe at great cost has not stilled a persistent debate: Are these refugees fleeing persecution, as the asylum laws say? Or are they economic migrants seeking a better life in a developed country? And if they make it to Turkey or Jordan or Lebanon, as some 4 million Syrians have to date, why don't they stay there? A visit to both ends of the short, treacherous voyage from Turkey across the Aegean Sea to Greece...

To a visitor, it seems like a curious bit of territory for the Turkish military and the Kurds to be fighting over: steep rocky hills covered in brown windblown grass divided by patches of green forestland. But if you get off the main road, and follow a gravel track into the hills, a makeshift camp emerges. This is where Kurdish activists have put themselves in the line of fire between the Turkish army and the youth faction of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or the PKK. Two and a half years ago,...

In Washington, Turkey is seen as an important ally in the fight against the Islamic State, or ISIS, in Syria and Iraq. But Ankara is also struggling to quell a resurgent conflict with its own Kurdish minority. Since last month, dozens of Turkish soldiers have been killed in roadside bombings and other attacks by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Turkish forces regularly launch operations inside small, tightly knit Kurdish neighborhoods in the country's southeast. The escalation in violence...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript TESS VIGELAND, HOST: Turkey will need to start forming a temporary government next week after politicians failed to agree on a coalition to run parliament. But gridlocked politicians are fast becoming the least of Turkey's worries. Dozens of security forces and hundreds of Kurdish fighters have been killed after the collapse of a two-year ceasefire. Sympathizers of ISIS have named Turkey as their latest target. And on top...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: Turkey has come under criticism for not doing more to stop the flow of migrants, but Turkish officials note that their country has taken in more Syrian refugees than any place else - by a lot. NPR's Peter Kenyon joins us from Istanbul. And, Peter, one place to start is to ask what is Turkey doing to control the migrant traffic, and what more could it be doing? PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Well, the most...

If the nuclear deal with Iran is implemented, Tehran stands to gain a lot of money. There are differing estimates of exactly how much: The U.S. Treasury Department has said something on the order of $100 billion is in blocked overseas Iranian accounts, while Iran's Central Bank governor puts the figure closer to $29 billion. Whatever the exact amount, critics like Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham say that kind of cash will allow Tehran to make bad situations in the Middle East...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Now to Turkey, where an attack has touched off accusations that the government is too lenient on extremists. This is the sound of what happened during a meeting of young activists Monday at a Kurdish community center near the Syrian border. (SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING) UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Chanting in foreign language). (SOUNDBITE OF EXPLOSION) SIEGEL: That video is from a Turkish media site. At...

The U.N. Security Council endorsed a historic nuclear deal with Iran on Monday, and it immediately drew complaints from hard-liners in Tehran as well as from lawmakers — particularly Republicans — in the U.S. The agreement , negotiated with Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, sharply restricts Iran's nuclear program for the next decade or more in return for relief from painful economic sanctions. But the agreement still has to pass muster in world capitals,...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: After many months of negotiations, there is an agreement to limit Iran's nuclear program. It would cut Iran's nuclear activity to a fraction of what it was a few years ago. It would open up that program to extensive monitoring by U.N. inspectors. Critics say inspections aren't enough to ensure that Iran will keep its commitments or reign in its aggressive policies in the Middle East. NPR's Peter Kenyon...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Now to Vienna and the talks there over Iran's nuclear program. Through the weekend and continuing today, the U.S., other world powers and Iran have been in tense negotiations and been limiting Iran's ability to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for easing economic sanctions. NPR's Peter Kenyon is covering the talks, and he joins me now from Vienna. Hi, Peter. PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Hi, Robert. SIEGEL:...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: Another large issue looming in the Middle East is whether Iran is capable of building nuclear weapons. That's the subject of ongoing talks in Vienna. A deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran was set for tonight. There are new developments on important issues, but negotiators say they need at least a couple more days. A deal would impose limits on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from...

After four years of war, Syrians are everywhere in Istanbul — on street corners, squatting in abandoned buildings. But a new venture run by Syrian and Turkish book lovers aims to be a cultural oasis for Arabic readers, and, along the way, give Turks a fuller picture of the Syrians, Iraqis and Libyans increasingly filling the city. In a painstakingly restored old wooden house in a working class neighborhood, Syrians, Iraqis and Turks mingled recently amid the shelves of the Pages bookstore. A...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: Turkey's voters yesterday sent shockwaves through a ruling party that has dominated Turkish politics for over a decade. The ruling AKP is losing its majority in Parliament. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports that a pro-Kurdish party has muscled its way onto the political scene. PETER KENYON, BYLINE: After a euphoric night of celebration by Turkish opposition parties, Turks woke today wondering just what the...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: Turkey holds parliamentary elections tomorrow, and a pro-Kurdish party might win new votes from Kurds and majority Turks alike. The two groups are often at odds, but they're both upset with President Erdogan. They believe he's too close to Islamists in Syria and has spent too much money on the enormous presidential palace in Ankara. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports that Kurds are especially disappointed at Mr....

Mutlu Kaya is gifted with a strong, pure voice, and it nearly cost her her life. Or rather, many Turkish women say, it was the reaction to her singing by the men in Kaya's life. She's in the hospital, a bullet in her skull. It started with a visit to Kaya's hometown by well-known Turkish folk singer Sibel Can. Can was a judge on a moderately popular TV singing show, and she was convinced Kaya could be a star. A promotional video posted online shows Can, Kaya and her mother on a couch as Kaya...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: One dilemma for the U.S. approach to the long Syrian civil war has been which groups to back against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. only recently agreed with its ally, Turkey, on training some so-called moderate rebel forces, but that's being overshadowed by a joint effort between Turkey and Arab countries to support more radical rebels who are already in the fight. NPR's Peter Kenyon has this...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ARUN RATH, HOST: Of course, Turkey still rejects the term genocide to describe the Armenian killings, but the government is gradually allowing its minority populations more avenues of expression, including the arts. NPR's Peter Kenyon attended a rare and moving Istanbul concert performance of Armenian music and poetry this week. Here's a taste of what it was like. PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Despite modest advertising, people...

A century after Ottoman forces massacred an estimated 1 to 1.5 million Armenian Christians, some of the remaining Armenian Turks are taking tentative steps out into the open. They survived because their ancestors were taken in by Muslim families and raised as Muslims. Now, thanks in part to a somewhat more tolerant climate in Turkey, their descendants, known as "hidden Armenians," are coming out of hiding. In the ancient walled city of Diyarbakir in southeast Turkey, a visitor probing the...

Heads of state and thousands of guests traveled to the windswept shores of western Turkey on Friday to mark the 100th anniversary of one of World War I's most infamous battles. The Gallipoli campaign saw Ottoman forces, fighting under German command, repel an Allied attack led by Britain and France. Nine months of fighting left a half-million dead and wounded on both sides. The Allies withdrew, setting in motion events that would leave the region forever changed. It's called ANZAC Day, for...

Armenians are preparing to mark on Friday the 100th anniversary of the killing of as many as 1.5 million of their ancestors by the Ottoman Empire. And Turks are getting ready to celebrate the centennial of a major military victory by the Ottoman forces over the Allied powers at Gallipoli in World War I. Turkey traditionally holds the Gallipoli ceremonies on April 25, which falls on Saturday this year. But it is moving up the events by one day to Friday in what critics call a clumsy attempt to...

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