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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6:11am

Fri April 11, 2014
Europe

A Trip Into Odessa's Rich, Dark History

Originally published on Fri April 11, 2014 7:37 am

As Ukraine seeks international help to bring Crimea back from Russian control, residents of Odessa watching warily. The historic Black Sea port has been conquered repeatedly throughout history.

5:40pm

Tue April 1, 2014
Parallels

Still Reeling From Crisis, Ukraine Prepares For Presidential Vote

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 12:11 am

Boxer-turned-opposition leader Vitali Klitschko, right, dropped out of Ukraine's presidential election set for May 25. He says he will help business tycoon and politician Petro Poroshenko, left, who made a fortune selling chocolates. He favors closer ties with the West.
Anatoliy Stepanov AFP/Getty Images

After a winter of lightning-fast changes – a president ousted and a peninsula apparently lost to Russia — Ukrainians are beginning to look ahead to elections on May 25 to replace Viktor Yanukovych.

The opposition leader who seemed to have the inside track a few weeks ago, ex-world champion heavyweight Vitali Klitschko, has taken himself out of the running. Klitschko will stand for mayor of Kiev and throw his support behind billionaire Petro Poroshenko, who made his fortune in the candy business.

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4:12pm

Thu March 27, 2014
Europe

IMF Bailout Comes With A Hefty Side Of Pain For Ukrainians

Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 7:03 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

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4:24pm

Fri March 21, 2014
News

Even Turkey's President Evades Its New Twitter Ban

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 6:22 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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4:31pm

Wed March 19, 2014
News

As Iran Talks Wrap Up, Diplomats Get Specific

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 7:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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4:35pm

Wed March 5, 2014
Europe

Kremlin Tells Reporters Not To Believe Their Eyes In Crimea

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 8:42 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Russian President Vladimir Putin says Moscow has not sent troops to Crimea, despite being authorized to do so. Russia's defense minister says reports of Russian forces fanning out across Crimea are complete nonsense. And yet, Ukrainian and Western officials, as well as witnesses and journalists in Crimea tell a very different story. NPR's Peter Kenyon joins us from the Crimean capitol of Simferopol.

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4:42pm

Mon March 3, 2014
Europe

As Russians Return, Crimean Tatars Fear Repeat Of History

Originally published on Mon March 3, 2014 7:19 pm

Not everyone in Crimea is happy with recent events. Muslim Tatars, who'd lived there for centuries, were exiled by Stalin and could only return with the fall of Communism. Now, the Russians are back.

5:12pm

Sun March 2, 2014
Europe

With Russian Military In Crimea, What's Next For Ukraine?

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 7:09 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

Events in Ukraine have taken another dramatic turn. Russian forces now control Ukraine's Crimean peninsula. The Ukrainian government in Kiev is calling up its military reserves. Secretary of State John Kerry says Russia's military incursion is an incredible act of aggression. Kerry will meet with the new Ukrainian government in Kiev on Tuesday.

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4:07pm

Thu February 27, 2014
Europe

Violence In Crimea Casts Shadow On New Ukrainian Cabinet

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 7:57 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. Ukraine's new government was installed today, but it was completely overshadowed by events in the majority Russian Crimea. Armed men took over two government buildings in the Crimean capital and hoisted a Russian flag over the parliament. Meanwhile, the fugitive former president, Viktor Yanukovych, appeared to resurface in Russia, releasing a written statement declaring himself to be the legitimate leader of Ukraine.

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4:20pm

Wed February 26, 2014
Europe

A Day Away From New Government, Ukraine Seeks Stability

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:08 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

We begin this hour with the latest developments from Ukraine and some of the responses from Western powers. Washington is offering financial advice and is now considering a $1 billion loan-guarantee package to help support the Ukrainian economy. In a moment, we'll hear how the British government views the crisis.

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4:19pm

Tue February 25, 2014
Europe

Restless In Ukraine: Interim Government Is Only First Step

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 8:01 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block. It took nearly three months for Ukraine's people to overthrow their government and now the opposition is running into problems as it tries to build a replacement with infighting among the various parties. Meantime, the Ukrainian economy is in a shambles. The country is on the verge of default.

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4:00pm

Mon February 24, 2014
Europe

From President To Fugitive — In The Span Of A Week

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 8:02 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. Last week, Viktor Yanukovych was Ukraine's head of state. Today, he's a wanted fugitive. The acting interior minister issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of mass murder. Yanukovych's main backer, meanwhile, is stepping up its criticism of the upheaval that has swept through Ukraine.

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4:49pm

Wed February 19, 2014
Middle East

Uncertainty Reigns At Start Of Iran Nuclear Talks

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 8:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

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1:37pm

Fri February 14, 2014
Parallels

At Iranian Colleges, Some See Brighter Future In Another Country

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 7:59 pm

Iranian high school students sit for their university entrance examination in Tehran in 2009. Iran's economy has been struggling in recent years, and many graduates feel they have few career options.
Mona Hoobehfekr AFP/Getty Images

President Hassan Rouhani appeals to Iranian college students when he talks about creating more opportunities for the young. But the clock is ticking. Many of those born long after the 1979 Islamic Revolution see limited prospects at home and envision a better future abroad.

Outside Tehran University, Iran's largest, you can find earnest young students like Fazle Mahmoudian, 21, a math major who says he knows job prospects are grim, though he's not looking to leave.

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3:44am

Fri February 14, 2014
Parallels

Iran's Hope Is Sanctions Relief, But Reality Is Struggling Economy

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 11:07 am

Low-income Iranians line up to receive food supplies in south Tehran. Iran remains an economy of subsidies, although some direct cash payments have been replaced by food baskets for the poor.
Davoud Ghahrdar AFP/Getty Images

Iran's economy may be struggling, but that doesn't mean everyone is suffering.

In a downtown Tehran restaurant, a well-dressed young man who asks to be identified only as Ahmad sits with a friend enjoying a water pipe of flavored tobacco.

Ahmad is a bit vague about what he does — first he says he's in the petrochemical business, then describes himself as an independent trader. He shares the general consensus that President Hassan Rouhani has brought a better atmosphere to the country but no real economic changes.

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5:33pm

Tue February 11, 2014
Parallels

Iran's President Marks Revolution With Call For Negotiations

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 9:58 pm

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech during an annual rally commemorating the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution at the Azadi Square in Tehran, on Tuesday. Rouhani called for "respectful, constructive" nuclear talks with world powers — a departure from the hard line of his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Vahid Salemi AP

Iran on Tuesday marked the 35th anniversary of its Islamic revolution, a day when the country's religious conservatives and military hard-liners take center stage, and calls of "Death to America" echo across the country.

In Tehran's Azadi Square, one man waving an orange "Down with the USA" flag condemned the U.S. and Israel, and then, perhaps not sure of the nationality of the reporter standing nearby, threw in England and France for good measure.

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5:18am

Mon February 10, 2014
Middle East

Iranians Look Back On 35 Years Since The Revolution

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 7:45 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Iran is marking the anniversary of its Islamic revolution. It's the 35th anniversary of the protests that ended in 1979 with the overthrow of a U.S. ally, the Shah of Iran. The government that has ruled ever since uses Death to America as one of its basic slogans but the possibility of better relations emerged after the election of a new Iranian president last year.

NPR's Peter Kenyon is in Iran. Hi, Peter.

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3:03am

Tue February 4, 2014
Parallels

Istanbul's Mega-Projects: Bigger Is Better, Or A 'Crazy Canal'?

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 8:12 am

The pillars for the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, commonly known as the "Third Bridge" rise from the Anatolian and European sides of the Bosphorus, above the fishing harbor of Poyrazkoy. When completed, the bridge will be over two kilometers in length, making it the longest combination railway/highway bridge in the world.
Jodi Hilton for NPR

Istanbul has long been a city of historical layers and sharp contrasts: ancient monuments share the skyline none too comfortably with modern skyscrapers, and charming cobbled streets run alongside massive highway traffic snarls.

Those contrasts have multiplied under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his love of giant building projects hasn't abated after more than a decade in power.

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5:27pm

Wed January 22, 2014
Middle East

Turkish Opposition Eyes Its Opportunity In March

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 10:38 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Over the next 17 months, Turkey will see three elections: local and presidential elections this year, followed by parliamentary voting next year. With Turkey's political landscape unsettled by scandals and growing voter discontent, even the local elections are drawing intense interest and that is especially true in Istanbul. As NPR's Peter Kenyon reports, the secular opposition sees the mayor's race there as its best chance in a decade of scoring a win over the dominant ruling party.

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3:47pm

Tue December 3, 2013
Parallels

Some Turkish Churches Get Makeovers — As Mosques

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 8:11 pm

The fifth century Byzantine Stoudios monastery in Istanbul housed a church and was later turned into a mosque and then a museum before falling into disrepair.
Peter Kenyon NPR

A historically significant but now-crumbling fifth century Byzantine monastery in Istanbul is finally slated for restoration. But for Turkey's dwindling Greek community, the bad news is that the government wants to turn the Stoudios monastery into a mosque.

It's just one of several such conversions of historically Christian sites that the government is considering. And there's even talk that the Hagia Sophia, the most famous Byzantine structure in modern Istanbul, will be reconverted into a mosque.

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4:04am

Mon November 11, 2013
Middle East

Iran Nuclear Talks Break, To Resume Later This Month

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 5:52 am

Negotiators from Iran and a six-nation group are scheduled to resume talks on Iran's nuclear program in 10 days. Talks ended on Saturday after an agreement was not reached on an initial proposal to ease international sanctions against Tehran in return for some restraints on its nuclear program.

4:54am

Thu November 7, 2013
Middle East

Suspicions Bog Down Talks On Iran's Nuclear Program

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.

6:46am

Sat November 2, 2013
Europe

Turkey's 'Rockin' Imam' Inspires Youth, Tests Boundaries

Originally published on Sat November 2, 2013 3:10 pm

Tuzer says there's nothing in his lyrics that could offend, but religious conservatives have opened an investigation into his musical activities.
Courtesy Ahmet Muhsin Tuzer

4:34pm

Wed October 30, 2013
Parallels

Ottoman Dream Come True: Train Links East And West In Istanbul

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 9:04 pm

A Marmaray Project train awaits its inauguration ceremony in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Ozan Kose AFP/Getty Images

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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4:58am

Tue October 29, 2013
NPR Story

Will Hard-Line Critics Scuttle Iranian Talks?

Originally published on Sun November 3, 2013 8:55 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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5:02pm

Mon October 14, 2013
Middle East

Can Iran, The West Overcome Distrust To Make A Nuclear Deal?

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 6:19 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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3:21am

Mon October 14, 2013
Parallels

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

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 4:21 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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4:19am

Fri September 6, 2013
Sports

Olympic Committee To Announce 2020 Summer Games Host

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 2:22 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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7:30am

Mon September 2, 2013
Middle East

Regional Leaders Confused By U.S. Delay On Syria Strike

Originally published on Mon September 2, 2013 7:43 am

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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12:43pm

Thu August 22, 2013
NPR Story

Egypt's Mubarak Released From Prison

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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