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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Parallels
3:08 am
Thu June 18, 2015

Istanbul Bookstore Caters To Syrian Refugees In Need Of A Good Read

Pages bookstore partner and manager Samer al-Kadri (center) talks with customers. The Syrian founded a publishing company in Damascus, but fled when the war made it impossible to run. He wound up in Istanbul, where he noticed a lack of books in Arabic, and took it upon himself to serve the community.
Peter Kenyon NPR

Originally published on Fri June 19, 2015 12:14 pm

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.

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Middle East
5:37 am
Sat June 6, 2015

ISIS Attack On Kobani Looms Over Turkish Elections

Originally published on Sat June 6, 2015 10:44 am

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Parallels
3:45 am
Tue June 2, 2015

In Turkey, Violence Against Women Is Often A Private Family Matter

Demonstrators in the Turkish capital of Ankara hold posters of Ozgecan Aslan, a 20-year-old student who was allegedly killed by a bus driver after fighting off a sexual assault. The posters read: "End killings of women."
Burhan Ozbilici AP

Originally published on Wed June 3, 2015 4:30 pm

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.

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World
3:10 pm
Sat April 25, 2015

Turkey's Armenian Artists Honor Their Community's Past

Originally published on Sat April 25, 2015 4:23 pm

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Parallels
3:20 am
Sat April 25, 2015

Invisible For Generations, 'Hidden Armenians' Emerge In Turkey

Armenian Christian women pray at St. Giragos Church in southeastern Turkey. The restored church, reopened in 2011, is the largest Armenian church in the Middle East.
Sertac Kayar Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sat April 25, 2015 12:56 pm

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.

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Parallels
12:20 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Remembering Gallipoli, A WWI Battle That Shaped Today's Middle East

Allied troops at the ANZAC Cove in the Gallipoli peninsula, during World War I. Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand fought for nine months but could not defeat the Ottomans. Overall, a half-million were killed or wounded.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 9:14 pm

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.

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Parallels
1:30 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

Turks And Armenians Prepare For Dueling Anniversaries On Friday

Armenians lay flowers Tuesday at the Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide Memorial in Yerevan, Armenia. Armenians on Friday will commemorate 100 years since 1.5 million of their kin were killed by Ottoman forces. Armenians and many historians call it the first genocide of the 20th century, but Turkey fiercely rejects that label.
Karen Minasyan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 1:16 pm

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 overshadow Armenian Remembrance Day.

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Middle East
6:01 am
Sat April 4, 2015

U.S. And Iran Offer Different Narratives On The Same Nuclear Deal

Originally published on Sat April 4, 2015 8:30 am

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National Security
2:37 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

U.S. Plays Delicate Dance As Deadline Nears In Iranian Nuclear Talks

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 6:07 pm

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The Two-Way
10:58 am
Fri March 20, 2015

Iran Nuclear Talks On Pause As Deadline Looms

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (right) at a meeting Wednesday in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Brian Snyder AP

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 1:01 pm

Diplomats seeking the framework of a deal to limit Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief are taking leave of Switzerland — but only for a few days.

"Yes, we are all leaving," a smiling Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said as he walked past reporters at the luxury Beau Rivage Hotel in Lausanne, site of the 1920s treaty that finally dissolved the Ottoman Empire.

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Parallels
6:00 pm
Sun March 8, 2015

A Swiss Town, A Casino Fire And 'Smoke On The Water'

The British rock band Deep Purple, shown here in 1971, wrote the hit song "Smoke on the Water," after watching the casino in Montreux, Switzerland, go up in flames later that year. The casino caught fire during a Frank Zappa concert.
Edwin Reichert AP

The lakeside Swiss town of Montreux was in the news this week as the host of nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers.

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The Two-Way
9:09 am
Mon February 23, 2015

Iran Nuclear Talks Report Progress, While Critics Ratchet Up The Rhetoric

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry goes for a stroll along the shore of Lake Geneva on Sunday prior to renewed nuclear negotiations in Geneva with his Iranian counterpart.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 11:23 am

Updated at 11:45 a.m. ET

U.S. and Iranian negotiators wrapped up nuclear talks in a venerable lakefront luxury hotel in Geneva on Monday, with an American official saying, "We made some progress," but adding, "there's still a long way to go."

The sides are trying to close the gaps in their positions on what the future of Iran's nuclear program should be and when sanctions against Iran might be lifted. The U.S. official says they'll be back at the table next Monday.

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Middle East
6:01 am
Sun February 22, 2015

Turkey Launches Operation Across Syria's Border

Originally published on Sun February 22, 2015 10:36 am

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Middle East
6:03 am
Sat February 21, 2015

After An Education In American Jazz, A Musician Tackles The Turkish Songbook

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 2:52 pm

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Middle East
5:56 am
Sat February 7, 2015

Jordan Rejects ISIS Claim That Strike Killed American Hostage

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 9:19 am

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Middle East
2:35 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

Jordan's Military Claims New Air Strikes Against ISIS

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 4:23 pm

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World
2:26 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

ISIS Demands $200 Million Ransom For Japanese Hostages

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 6:00 pm

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Middle East
3:16 am
Mon January 19, 2015

Nuclear Talks With Iran Recess After 'Limited' Progress

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 8:38 am

As diplomats trickled out into a frigid Geneva Sunday evening, descriptions of the talks trickled out with them. Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Aragchi refused to characterize the progress made so far.

"It's too soon to say if we are able to make any progress or not," Aragchi said. "We are still trying to bridge the gaps between the two sides. We try our best, and as I have always said, as diplomats we are always hopeful."

China's delegation had a one-on-one with the Iranians and negotiator Wang Qun was more positive about the talks.

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World
2:26 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

For Iran And The West, A Rocky Year For Nuclear Diplomacy

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
7:23 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Turkey's President And His 1,100-Room 'White Palace'

Turkey's new presidential palace in the capital, Ankara, has an official price tag of $615 million and more than 1,000 rooms. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Ak Saray, or the White Palace, is not his palace, but that of Turkey. But not everyone is so sure.
Aykut Unlupinar Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 2:06 pm

On the outskirts of the Turkish capital, a new landmark looms over what was once Ankara forestland. It's a new presidential palace complex, with at least 1,100 rooms and an official price tag of $615 million — although critics suggest both figures are probably higher.

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Parallels
5:38 am
Sun December 7, 2014

For Iran, The Trend Lines All Seem To Point In The Wrong Direction

President Hassan Rouhani's election last year gave many Iranians hope, but he has not offered a clear path out of the country's current problems, which include a weakening economy, tough sanctions and nuclear talks that are dragging on.
Mohammad Berno AP

Originally published on Sun December 7, 2014 10:25 am

Oil prices are at a five-year low, inflation is on the rise, the currency is sinking and nuclear talks are dragging on with no end to sanctions in sight. Those are the grim indicators confronting Iranians as winter approaches.

Iran's leaders are counseling resilience and patience, but Iranians aren't finding much to be hopeful about, although they're dealing with it in their own way.

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Energy
2:23 pm
Thu November 27, 2014

OPEC Declines Action As World Oil Prices Hit Record Lows

Originally published on Thu November 27, 2014 5:12 pm

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Business
3:15 am
Thu November 27, 2014

OPEC Ministers To Consider Cuts To Oil Production

Originally published on Thu November 27, 2014 10:12 am

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World
2:37 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Iran Nuclear Negotiators Miss Deadline, Ask For More Time

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 8:15 am

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Middle East
5:21 am
Sun November 23, 2014

Iran Talks Intensify On Day Before Deadline

Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 11:26 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
12:37 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

With Hand-Sewn Ships, Oman Revives A Glorious Maritime Past

The Jewel of Muscat, a replica of a ninth century Omani trading ship, sails into the harbor of Galle, Sri Lanka, in 2010. The ship was built in a traditional manner that uses coconut fibers (but no nails) to hold the ship together. The ship followed old routes used by Arab traders.
Lakruwan Wanniarachchi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 5:47 pm

These days, a visitor to the Persian Gulf sultanate of Oman is likely to be a pale European seeking some winter sun, or perhaps a diplomat seeking to broker a deal between longtime rivals such as, say, the U.S. and Iran. But Oman's reputation as a go-between is well-earned and stretches back centuries.

Back when Northern Europe was overrun by Vikings, Oman had a vast maritime trading empire.
 Now the country is training a new generation of Omanis to care for that legacy, and along the way remind the world of its rich maritime history.

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Parallels
3:15 pm
Sun November 16, 2014

In Oman, The Man Who Has Defined The Country Is Now Rarely Seen

Sultan Qaboos bin Said, 73, salutes during a military parade in the capital Muscat on Oman's national day in November 2013. Qaboos, who has ruled for 44 years, has maintained friendly relations with everyone from the U.S. to Iran. However, he has been abroad for months receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness.
Mohammed Mahjoub AFP/Getty

It's a festive time in Oman, the sleepy sultanate on the edge of the Persian Gulf. The national day is Nov. 18, marking Oman's liberation from Portugese colonization, and the capital Muscat is bedecked with banners, scarves and flags. The spicy-sweet smell of frankincense is everywhere, as are images of Oman's absolute monarch for the past 44 years, Sultan Qaboos bin Said.

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The Two-Way
10:21 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Iranian Rally Marking Anniversary Of U.S. Hostage Crisis Has A Twist

Iranian women chant during a demonstration in front of the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran, marking the 1979 takeover just days ahead of a key meeting between the two nations' top diplomats over Iran's nuclear program.
Vahid Salemi AP

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 2:07 pm

Three and a half decades after young Iranians stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and triggered a 444-day hostage crisis, calls of "Down with America!" again rang out on the streets outside the former U.S. mission.

So far, so predictable. But this year's rally featured an unusual twist, according to official media.

The Islamic Republic News Agency reports that the rally's final communique condemned America as an "oppressor power" that must be resisted.

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Middle East
10:58 am
Sun November 2, 2014

After Acid Attacks And Execution, Iran Defends Human Rights Record

Iranians protest in Isfahan, Iran, last month in solidarity with women injured in a series of acid attacks. Several women have been attacked by assailants on motorcycles who threw acid on their faces, purportedly because they were "badly veiled."
Arya Jafari AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 2, 2014 1:04 pm

Iranian officials attacked the latest United Nations report on its human rights record Friday, blasting what they called efforts to impose a Western lifestyle on the Islamic republic.

But for Iranians and others who hoped President Hassan Rouhani would begin to turn around his county's human rights record, the U.N. report provided a depressing but not surprising answer. It said executions in Rouhani's first year in office had increased to what U.N. Special Rapporteur Ahmed Shaheed called "alarming" levels.

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Parallels
1:24 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

In Southeast Turkey, A Long History Of Bloodshed And Worship

The pillars at Gobekli Tepe resemble those at Stonehenge — but predate them by several thousand years.
J. Pfeiffer DPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 5:46 pm

The Urfa plain in southeastern Turkey — not far from where Syrian refugees watch fighters from the so-called Islamic State wage a brutal war in the name of a primitive version of their faith — is one of the most fought-over landscapes in human civilization.

But on the plain — soaked in blood since the days when Sumerian and Assyrian kings ruled Mesopotamia — there's a place that's even older, so old that its denizens hadn't mastered the arts of pottery, writing or making war.

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