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.

The American-led coalition opposing the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is starting to move toward vetting and training ground forces to do battle in both countries.

But it's a slow process, and it comes after years of frustrations for veterans of the Free Syrian Army, or the FSA, who have gathered in southeastern Turkey, a place with a long history of epic battles and religious fights.

Syrian defenders of the mainly Kurdish border town of Kobani say an increase in coalition airstrikes — and better coordination with the air support — have helped them hold off the more heavily armed fighters from the so-called Islamic State.

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Iran's president brought an unsettling message to the United Nations on Thursday: Middle Eastern terrorism has been globalized, in part thanks to mistakes made by Western powers, and the threat cannot be eliminated by outside force alone.

President Hassan Rouhani, feted at last year's U.N. General Assembly as a welcome change from his combative predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told the world body that his part of the world is "burning in the fire of extremism and radicalism."

With so many members of Iraq's Yazidi religious minority killed, abducted or left homeless in recent weeks, one more death — due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound — might almost pass unnoticed. But friends and family of 33-year-old Naif Khalif Omar say his suicide is resonating in a community that sees only a bleak future ahead.

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Ever since the Islamic State seized Mosul more than two months ago, it's been difficult to get a detailed picture of life inside Iraq's second largest city.

The northern Iraqi village of Al-Qosh was humming with activity — and some jitters — when NPR visited back in June. The Assyrian Christian villagers had opened their schools and homes to Iraqis fleeing the takeover of nearby Mosul by Islamist fighters calling themselves the Islamic State.

Iraq's ethnic Kurds are longtime U.S. allies and have put up the toughest resistance to the Sunni extremists in the so-called Islamic State that has captured swaths or Iraq's north and west.

They're getting help from U.S. air strikes, but also need heavier weapons of their own to match the firepower of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. Weapons have been promised by the U.S. and other countries, but getting them through the central government in Baghdad has hampered the mission, according to Kurdish commanders.

A massacre of members of the Yazidi minority in the Iraqi town of Kocho made headlines last week. Around 80 men were killed by militants from the so-called Islamic State, the extremist group that has swept through much of northern Iraq.

But that was not the only massacre, according to the Yazidis. In a camp for the displaced near the Syrian border, people call 21-year-old Abbas Khader Soullo a walking miracle. To explain why, he unbuttons his shirt and shows his bullet wounds.

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The news from Turkey lately has been mostly bad: A mine disaster this spring killed more than 300 workers; a corruption probe in December raised allegations of high-level graft in the Cabinet; and resentment continues to smolder against mega-projects that are threatening Istanbul's remaining green spaces.

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After two days of nuclear talks with his Iranian counterpart, Secretary of State John Kerry is returning to Washington. Sunday is the deadline for a deal to limit Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Vienna that the talks could be extended.

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And I'm Robert Siegel. Iranian and American diplomats are facing a July 20th deadline to come up with a nuclear agreement. A deal could prevent any Iranian attempt to build a bomb. Failure could bring back the mutual hostility of the past. As NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Vienna, nuclear fuel, uranium, is the crucial issue.

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The fighting is so bad in Iraq that yesterday NATO promised to defend member country Turkey from any spillover violence. Turkey borders two countries that some analysts now call failed states, Iraq and Syria. That's forcing Turkey to consider policies that could change the map of the region, even the possibility of more independence for Iraqi Kurds. That's something Turkey has vehemently opposed for decades. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul.

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Negotiators trying to ensure that Iran has only a peaceful nuclear program have less than a month to reach an agreement. A week of talks in Vienna yielded the potential beginnings of a deal. But thorny problems remain unresolved.

As NPR's Peter Kenyon reports, U.S. and Iranian negotiators also spent time fending off questions about the crisis in Iraq.

Iran and six world powers are meeting in Vienna this week in their latest attempt to hammer out a comprehensive nuclear agreement by July 20.

That's when a six-month interim agreement expires. It can be extended for up to another six months, though all sides say they're aiming for an agreement this summer.

Iran is negotiating with the so-called P5 plus one, which consists of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China — plus Germany.

Former world heavyweight boxing champ Vitaly Klitchko is now set to become mayor of Kiev. In his first major move, Klitchko is asking activists in Independence Square to pack up their tents and allow the square to return to normal. Some activists are resisting, warning that one presidential election doesn't guarantee the success of their revolution — or do justice to the martyrs who were killed there.

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Europe's far-right parties did well, really well in last week's elections to the European Parliament. But their embrace of Russia and its annexation of Crimea is not exactly what the far-right counterparts in Ukraine were expecting. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports on a rare right-wing party that favors EU integration and joining NATO.

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And I'm Melissa Block. The battle for control of eastern Ukraine heated up again today. Pro-Russian insurgents shot down a military helicopter - killing at least a dozen soldiers, including an Army general. The deaths came days after the Ukrainian military inflicted heavy losses on rebels, who had seized the Donetsk airport.

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The elections could be a major step in bringing legitimacy to the Kiev government if it can navigate the pitfalls of pro-Russian extremists in the East and hardline Ukrainian nationalists in the West.

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Another round of nuclear talks between world powers in Iran ended yesterday and negotiations are expected to run through July. The U.S. wants to limit Iran's nuclear program. Iran wants relief from economic sanctions, but there are some mysteries, including rumors and reports about old weapons programs Iran allegedly hid.

And that poses a dilemma. How does it admit to past concealment? Well, it asked the world to trust it under a new deal. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from the talks in Vienna.

Almost a year into Hassan Rouhani's presidency, the wave of high expectations that marked his rise to power in Iran has given way to impatience from his supporters and increasing attacks from his critics.

As Iranian negotiators headed to New York last week for expert-level nuclear talks, conservatives spoke out in parliament and gathered at the old U.S. Embassy in Tehran for some of the boldest attacks yet on Rouhani's leadership. Until now, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has kept hardliners relatively quiet about the nuclear negotiations, which resume Tuesday in Vienna.

If we mention the northwestern Turkish city of Edirne, tucked up near the borders with Greece and Bulgaria, you may think, "Oh brother, not another story about olive oil wrestling."

Yes, it's true that each summer for the last 650 or so years Edirne has hosted the Kirkpinar Olive Oil Wrestling Festival, in which half-naked men slathered in fragrant oil grapple in the grass. It's activity that's even recognized as a UNESCO Heritage Event.

Some countries in Syria's neighborhood are feeling inundated with refugees, and countries like Greece are making it harder for them to enter the country. Now Bulgaria has followed suit, with growing reports of Syrian refugees facing violent beatings, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch.

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Turkey has seen its share of political controversies lately, including large protests and a government ban of Twitter. Despite that, the ruling party appears to be maintaining its popularity. But now it may face a split in its highest ranks. There's competition brewing between its two main figures: President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul that many are wary of Erdogan's growing power.

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