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.

Parallels
9:41 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Kurds Hoping To Fight ISIS In Kobani Are Trapped By Turkish Suspicions

Thick smoke rises following an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition in Kobani, Syria, while fighting continued between Syrian Kurds and the militants of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, as seen from Mursitpinar on the outskirts of Suruc, at the Turkey-Syria border on Wednesday.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Fri October 17, 2014 12:24 pm

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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Parallels
10:18 am
Tue September 16, 2014

With A Deadline Looming, Iran's Nuclear Talks Reopen In New York

An Iranian security guard directs media at the Bushehr nuclear power plant in 2010. The crisis in Ukraine, the Ebola outbreak in Africa and extremist violence in Iraq all threaten to complicate the nuclear talks.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 12:50 pm

Negotiations on limiting Iran's nuclear program resume this week in New York, but a summer of multiplying crises has world capitals distracted as the talks hit a crucial stage.

The high-profile setting for this round of talks between Iran and six world powers has raised expectations, and the talks come at a time when world leaders are also gathering for the U.N. General Assembly meeting.

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Parallels
9:56 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Iraqi Christian Village: From Sanctuary To Ghost Town In 2 Months

Friar Gabriel Tooma leads a service at the Chaldean Church of the Virgin Mary of the Harvest, in Al-Qosh on June 15. At the time, the Christian village in northern Iraq was taking in those fleeing violence in the nearby city of Mosul. Now the village itself is largely deserted.
AP

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 7:09 am

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.

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The Salt
3:34 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

In This Turkish Town, Liver (And Olive Oil Wrestling) Are King

Fried liver, an Edirne specialty.
Farzana Quaraishi Benabdeljalil Flickr

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 8:55 am

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.

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Parallels
2:15 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Still Reeling From Crisis, Ukraine Prepares For Presidential Vote

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

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 9:11 pm

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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Parallels
10:54 am
Fri February 14, 2014

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

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

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 8:07 am

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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Parallels
1:26 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Iran's President Marks Revolution With Call For Negotiations

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

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 6:58 pm

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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Middle East
3:36 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Iran's President Rouhani Gets The Benefit Of The Doubt, For Now

Female supporters of Hassan Rouhani, then an Iranian presidential candidate, chant slogans during a campaign rally in Tehran, Iran, on June 8, 2013. Rouhani has embarked on a diplomatic outreach program since taking office.
Ebrahim Noroozi AP

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 6:04 pm

As Iran prepares to mark the 35th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, it's not hard to find evidence of its much analyzed devotion to martyrdom, especially around this holiday.

It's also not hard to find chants of "Death to America." Just drop by the massive Mosalla Imam Khomeini mosque for Friday prayers.

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NPR History
10:35 am
Mon December 3, 2012

In Istanbul, A Byzantine-Era Fleet Surfaces Again

Archaeologists call an excavation site on Istanbul's southern shore the world's largest shipwreck collection. The area, unearthed during construction of a railway station, was once a Byzantine-era port that harbored cargo and military vessels, and received goods from around the Mediterranean.
Gokce Saracoglu for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 3, 2012 5:24 pm

In Istanbul, major public transit projects are back under way after years of paralysis. The problem wasn't a lack of financing, but the layer upon layer of ancient artifacts that turned up every time the earthmovers started their work.

The excavation began eight years ago on projects intended to ease Istanbul's notoriously clogged traffic.

The job included building a tunnel under the Bosphorus Strait and linking it to a rail and subway network. When the dig was stopped several years ago, eyes rolled and shoulders shrugged.

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Europe
8:03 am
Sun September 9, 2012

Istanbul, A City Of Spies In Fact And Fiction

Though not the capital, Istanbul is the cultural, economic and financial heart of Turkey. Situated on the Bosporus strait, this metropolis spans Europe and Asia — and has a storied history as a gathering place for spies.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 9, 2012 10:43 am

Headlines today in Turkey feature stories of alleged Iranian spies, gathering information about Kurdish militants who are responsible for many deaths in Turkey this summer.

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