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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In recent years, Turkey has been criticized for doing too little to stop jihadi fighters from moving between the Mideast and Europe. Its more than 500-mile border with Syria has come in for particular scrutiny throughout the five-year Syrian conflict. But Turkey says it has deported thousands of suspected foreign fighters or Islamic State supporters since 2011 — nearly 3,300 of them, according to a recent estimate. Many came originally from Europe. One of them was Brussels suicide bomber...

Not long ago, Turkey was held up as a regional model: a Muslim-majority state with a thriving democracy and a market economy. These days, though, it's more often seen as a country where a ruling party with no serious opposition is drifting toward authoritarian rule. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan led the Justice and Development Party (AKP in its Turkish acronym) to power in 2002, in a breakthrough victory for politicians gathered together from earlier, failed Islamist parties. The AKP has won...

The fifth year of the Syrian conflict was the worst yet for civilians — and Russia, the U.S., France and Britain are partly to blame. That's according to a new report from 30 aid and human rights groups, including Oxfam and Care International. Titled " Fuelling the Fire ," the report says some 50,000 people have been killed since April 2014 and that nearly a million more have been forced to flee their homes. It also says that as permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the U.S.,...

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In Iran, voters are still waiting for clarity from the Feb. 26 parliamentary elections, but they're optimistic that a more cooperative legislature will help the government boost the economy. Hopes for broader social and political reforms, however, remain faint. On a recent afternoon, a covered bazaar in north Tehran has its share of visitors, but there seems to be a lot more window-shopping than buying going on. Carpet shop owner Ali Mirnezami confirms that impression. He says this shop has...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: It's election day in Iran, the first since it signed a deal to limit its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief. Now, it was a fully open election. The government disqualified many pro-reform candidates from running. But so many people turned out to vote for a new parliament that the state extended hours at polling places multiple times. NPR's Peter Kenyon visited a few polling stations. He...

Iranians vote on Friday for Parliament. The results could signal whether they are ready to engage more robustly with the West, following a deal with world powers aimed at preventing the country from developing nuclear weapons. Hardliners have effectively controlled the country's political system since Iran's revolution. But Hassan Rouhani, the current president, is considered a moderate and has worked to improve relations with the West. The election will be a crucial test of his agenda. In...

Iran's capital, Tehran, is in political overdrive this week. Candidates for parliament are battling the Tehran traffic, vying for support in Friday's elections. This is Iran's first ballot since a nuclear agreement last July that brought the lifting of international sanctions in January. Long before the nuclear deal was signed, Iranians were told by their leaders that the removal of sanctions would bring more opportunity and better living standards. But for the most part, ordinary Iranians...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. SCOTT SIMON, HOST: And we are following breaking news today. Iranian state media are reporting the release of four Americans from captivity today, including Jason Rezaian, The Washington Post reporter. Now, this news comes on a day that final preparations are being made to lift economic sanctions that had been imposed on Iran over its nuclear program. NPR's Peter Kenyon is following the news from Istanbul. Peter, thanks for being...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID GREENE, HOST: An explosion has killed as many as 10 people in Istanbul. This took place in one of Turkey's most famous tourist neighborhoods near the Blue Mosque. Let's try and sort out what happened with NPR's Peter Kenyon, who is based in Istanbul, and he's on the line. Peter, take us through the morning there. PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Well, this was a sizable explosion. I heard it in my apartment. And that's more...

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID GREENE, HOST: Let's go right to assemble now. With a deadly explosion there this morning. It happened one of Turkey's most famous tourist neighborhoods not far from the blue Mosque. Turkish officials say the death toll as of right now 10. Is Peter Kenyon went to the area of the explosion shortly after it occurred. And he is on the line. And Peter tell us what we know at this point. PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Well this...

Turkey seems to be surrounded by conflicts these days — in neighboring Syria and Iraq, and tensions are running high with Russia. The fight getting the least attention is the one taking place on Turkey's own soil. Turkish security forces resumed operations against minority Kurdish fighters last summer after peace talks broke down . The fighting in the southeast has escalated, with Kurdish areas locked down under military curfews and deadly risks facing those who do venture out. Medical...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlO_N4gQEDo At a time when regional tensions are running hot, Iran has taken the unusual step of displaying its missiles that are stored in a vast underground complex. The footage on Iranian television this week shows the speaker of Iran's Parliament, Ali Larijani , visiting the subterranean compound. There appear to be long-range ballistic missiles, which United Nations experts say are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The location of the site was not...

It was never going to be easy to work out a truce in Syria. And the latest escalation of tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia is likely to spill over into the Syria talks, making prospects for a ceasefire even more remote, according to analysts who follow the region. Another potential loser in the feud is Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, who's been trying to open up his country to the world and is looking to gain additional allies in elections set for next month. But the latest events have...

Iran appears to be racing toward a major milestone in the nuclear agreement reached this summer with six world powers: "implementation day." It's a term with no fixed date, but it will be a big deal when it arrives. It's the day when the United Nations Security Council lifts the financial and banking sanctions against Iran, and more than $100 billion in frozen assets will be freed up. But the day can only happen when international inspectors confirm that Iran has taken a number of steps to...

Tax avoidance is a big issue in the United Kingdom these days. The discussion usually revolves around a large multinational company that "goes offshore" by using creative accounting methods to reduce or avoid paying British taxes on its profits. But in a small town in central Wales, local business owners have decided to try the same thing — to make a point. The town is Crickhowell, nestled in the Brecon Beacons National Park, surrounded by rugged mountains with a river tumbling past the...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript SCOTT SIMON, HOST: France's President Hollande has seen a spike in his popularity as people rally around the French government after last month's terrorist attacks in Paris, but there are regional elections tomorrow. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports that the Paris attacks and waves of migrants arriving in the country could lead to a strong showing by the far-right National Front. PETER KENYON, BYLINE: The anti-immigrant, anti...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: Travelers to Europe know this reality. Once you're in the heart of Europe, you are in. You can cross many borders without showing papers in what's called the Schengen zone. That's how it's been. The Paris attacks may be changing that. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Paris. PETER KENYON, BYLINE: At the Gare du Nord train station over the weekend, traveler bottlenecks grew as police selected passengers...

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript DAVID GREENE, HOST: And I'm David Greene in Paris this morning, where French authorities conducted a dramatic raid on two apartments in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Denis. There were explosions and then gunfire, and a woman blew herself up with a suicide vest. The perimeter of that area is still sealed off as the day is drawing to a close here in Paris. Nightfall has come. The apparent target of the attack was...

The Paris attacks have brought new attention to Dimitri Bontinck, a member of Belgium's Dutch-speaking majority. His life was dramatically changed a few years ago, when his then-teenage son converted to Islam and went to Syria to join Islamist fighters there. Now Bontick is trying to prevent other young Europeans from following the same path. Bontinck says his son, Jejoen, was raised as a typical Western boy, the child of an atheist father and a Catholic mother. But then, Bontinck says,...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: The surprise in yesterday's parliamentary elections in Turkey wasn't that the ruling AK party got the most votes. It was the margin of victory far greater than pollsters had predicted. Turkey's president calls it a vote for stability. But NPR's Peter Kenyon reports that many Turks worry this vote could spell more trouble. PETER KENYON, BYLINE: In downtown Istanbul, residents weighed the impact of...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: There is something different about the latest international talks about the war in Syria. For the first time, Iran is at the table. These latest discussions are taking place in Vienna, Austria, which is where we reached NPR's Peter Kenyon. Hey Peter. PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Hi Ari. SHAPIRO: Why does it make such a difference have Iran at these talks? KENYON: Well, a lot of people say if any solution's...

With thousands of migrants showing up at European borders daily, the EU is pressing Turkey to keep Syrians and other migrants in Turkey. The EU is pledging more than $3 billion in aid for Turkey to do things like cut down on human trafficking. But what about the migrants themselves, the ones risking their lives to get to Europe? First, a couple of important facts about migrants in Turkey: Relatively few migrants are in camps. Most are living in Turkish cities and towns, coping as best they...

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...

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...

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...

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