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.

Just up the hill from Istanbul's Old City, lines are forming outside the district governor's office. This is where Turks can find a new "crisis management center," where those caught up in the post-coup purge can finally be heard in their own defense – or in defense of a relative now behind bars. At a desk, people can submit their written defenses.

Since Turkey's government survived a violent coup attempt on July 15, it has pointed the finger at followers of an elderly, U.S.-based cleric. His name is Fethullah Gulen, and he denies any involvement. Turkey is demanding his extradition from the U.S., where he's lived in Pennsylvania since the late 1990s.

Gulen moved to America in 1999, amid worries that Turkey's secular and military elite was after him. Gulen became a close ally of Erdogan and his AKP party when the party came to power, but the two had a falling out several years later.

For more than a decade, U.S. foreign policy has centered on military action in the Middle East. Often overlooked, but still critical, is U.S. diplomacy. It's a slow and often frustrating art. It can also involve unpopular compromises with allies and rivals.

But there's no way around it. Consider Turkey, with a strategic location that makes it important in Syria, Iraq, and the migrant crisis. But the U.S. and Turkey have had a roller-coaster relationship that took a sharp downward turn after an attempted coup last month against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Turkey abolished capital punishment in 2004. But in the wake of last month's failed coup, Turks have been demanding it be reinstated for the coup plotters. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has encouraged parliament to consider such a move, saying the public will cannot be ignored.

Legal experts say applying a death sentence retroactively is problematic. European officials say a return to capital punishment would kill Turkey's bid to join the EU. But that hasn't checked a surge in public calls to bring it back.

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Most critics of the Turkish government have been frightened into silence these days. The country is consumed with rooting out backers of this month's failed coup attempt — an ongoing purge has affected tens of thousands of people.

But it's still possible to find Turks willing to talk about why they oppose both the July 15 coup attempt and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's aggressive reaction, saying legitimate criticism must not be silenced.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is promising a military shake-up after last week's failed coup attempt. More than 7,000 soldiers are already in custody, including nearly 100 generals.

Turks were thrilled to see last Friday's coup effort thwarted, but some are wondering if the armed forces are in any condition to deal with the many challenges facing the country — fighting the Islamic State, battling Kurdish militants and managing chaotic borders with Iraq and Syria.

After surviving a coup attempt that left more than 240 dead and some 1,500 wounded, Turks are now living under a state of emergency that will last at least three months. Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the emergency measures Wednesday night, promising to "cleanse" both the military and the government.

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Dog excrement thrown at a German woman's door. "Go back to Africa" screamed at a military veteran. A Polish cultural center vandalized. Born-and-bred Britons told to "go home." Why? Because "we voted you out."

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British politics remained in upheaval Monday. The leading political parties are in a mess: Conservatives are rushing to replace their leader, Prime Minister David Cameron, and the opposition Labour Party is escalating pressure on its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, to step down. All the while, the United Kingdom lumbers toward starting the divorce talks with the European Union.

Meanwhile, the pound is still down, markets are shaky and Standard and Poors lowered another credit rating.

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United Kingdom voters sent shockwaves across Europe and beyond with their vote to exit the European Union. The "Brexit" vote stunned the country's political elite, the financial markets and British bookmakers, all of whom had expected a very close vote in favor of remaining in the European Union.

The latest polls on the United Kingdom's vote to stay in or leave the European Union show a slight rise for the Remain camp. Most, however, agree that Thursday's referendum is still too close to call. Such uncertainty has surrounded the entire Brexit debate – with one exception.

Britain's bookies say the smart money is on Remain.

"At the moment, Remain is the odds-on favorite at 1 to 4, so that equates to about a 76 percent chance of the U.K. voting to remain in the EU," says Jessica Bridge, spokeswoman for Ladbrokes, one of the U.K.'s larger betting firms.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

The June 23 referendum on whether the United Kingdom should leave the European Union has revealed one clear gap: younger voters are much more likely to favor staying in the E.U. compared to older ones. A recent study found that 69 percent of those under age 35 want to stay and 46 percent of those older than 55 favor leaving.

British voters on June 23 will cast what some have called the most important ballot of their lives — whether the U.K. should remain in the European Union or pull out, in what's become popularly known as a "Brexit."

There's been a blizzard of claims from both supporters and opponents of exiting the union, and while most polls show a neck-and-neck race at the moment, the number of undecided voters is high.

More than 2 million Syrians have fled to Turkey, driven out by the fighting that erupted in their homeland in 2011. But none can claim an odyssey quite like that of Mohammed Faris.

As Syria's first and only cosmonaut, Mohammed Faris rocketed into orbit with two Soviet colleagues in 1987. He conducted experiments and photographed his country from space. By the time he returned to Syria, most everyone in the country knew his name.

Traffic is crawling, sirens wailing and police are hustling pedestrians around metal barricades. It's not another terrorist attack in Istanbul, but super-high security precautions for the first U.N. World Humanitarian Summit.

Dozens of government and NGO delegations converged on Istanbul's Congress Center, just down the street from central Taksim Square, posing for selfies and greeting old friends. The two-day summit is meant to lay the groundwork for a radical transformation of the way global humanitarian aid is delivered; participants say good progress on that has been made.

Getting justice for victims of torture and other abuses used to be just about impossible. It's still extremely difficult, but decades of work by activists, lawyers — and increasingly by doctors — have brought new tools to the struggle, whether they're working in a war zone or a hostile political environment.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu — who is supposed to be in charge of the government, according to the country's constitution — abruptly announced he won't seek to continue in office, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to press for more executive power.

After meeting with Erdogan in the capital city of Ankara, Davutoglu told a news conference today that there will be an extraordinary congress of the ruling AK Party on May 22 and that he won't be standing for party leader, thereby ending his term as prime minister after just 20 months.

Two years ago in Istanbul, I dragged Selcuk Altun, a Turkish author and lover of all things Byzantine, to the Hagia Sophia, a sixth century church that's now a museum. But we couldn't even get close. Altun took one look at the mass of sweating humanity blocking the entrance and decided to do the interview outside. But this year, the change is astonishing.

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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.

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 every election since.

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.