NPR: 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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5:13pm

Thu February 23, 2012
Middle East

Syrian Forces Tightening Grip On Parts Of Homs

Originally published on Thu February 23, 2012 7:10 pm

Flames rise from a house, the result of Syrian government shelling, in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, Syria, on Wednesday, in this image provided by citizen journalists to the Local Coordination Committees.
Local Coordination Committees in Syria AP

The Syrian army has cut off all escape routes from a rebel-held neighborhood in Homs, the city that has seen the most intense fighting in recent days, according to opposition activists.

Syrian tanks were seen moving closer to the Baba Amr neighborhood Thursday, as efforts continued to negotiate a cease-fire to evacuate the wounded, including two Western journalists.

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3:13pm

Tue February 14, 2012
Middle East

Iran Can Disrupt Key Waterway — But For How Long?

The USS Abraham Lincoln sailed from the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday. This photo was taken from the bridge of the aircraft carrier and shows U.S. aircraft parked on its flight deck. In the background, a U.S. destroyer patrols.
Hassan Ammar AP

The dispute over Iran's nuclear program has again rocked oil markets. And Iran is threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, which is just 34 miles wide yet serves as the passageway for 20 percent of the world's oil.

This is not a new drama. In fact, it was a recurring issue in the 1980s. Still, there's been relatively little activity among Gulf oil producers to find alternative routes to get their oil to market.

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12:01am

Thu January 26, 2012
Middle East

For Turkish Journalists, Arrest Is A Real Danger

Originally published on Thu January 26, 2012 11:42 am

Hundreds of journalists protest the arrests of members of the media, including Ahmet Sik (poster on the right) and Nedim Sener (center) in Ankara, Turkey, in March 2011. Critics say the government is trying to stifle dissent by arresting journalists — for doing their job.
AP

In the wake of the Arab Spring, some Muslims in North Africa are looking across the Mediterranean to Turkey as a potential model of a state that can be modern, Islamic and democratic.

But some analysts in the region say that model is flawed, and they are questioning Turkey's human-rights record and its dealings with the press.

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3:04pm

Wed January 11, 2012
Middle East

Death Of Iranian Nuclear Expert Adds To Tensions

Iranian security forces inspect the site where a magnetic bomb attached to a car by a motorcyclist exploded outside a university in Tehran on Jan. 11, 2012, killing nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan.
Sajad Safari AFP/Getty Images

An explosion in Tehran Wednesday killed an Iranian nuclear scientist while he was driving his car. It's the fifth such death in five years, and Iranian officials immediately blamed Israel. The attack is the latest manifestation of escalating tensions between Iran and the West.

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3:00pm

Tue January 10, 2012
Middle East

Assad Blames Protests On Foreign Involvement

Originally published on Tue January 10, 2012 10:47 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now to Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad delivered a defiant speech today. He called protesters mongrels misled by foreigners and he vowed to stay in power. Assad also criticized the Arab League, which has an observer mission inside Syria.

NPR's Peter Kenyon has more on the story from Istanbul in neighboring Turkey.

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3:00pm

Fri January 6, 2012
NPR Story

In Syria, Suicide Bomber Kills More Than Two Dozen

Originally published on Fri January 6, 2012 5:58 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Syrian officials are vowing to respond with an iron fist to a suicide bombing in Damascus today, 25 people were killed. It was the second deadly bomb attack in the Syrian capital in recent weeks. The government and opposition activists traded accusations as to who was responsible. And the bombing raised fears of escalating violence, as the Arab League presses Syria to implement a peace plan.

NPR's Peter Kenyon is monitoring developments in Syria from Istanbul.

(SOUNDBITE OF SIRENS)

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12:01am

Fri January 6, 2012
The Arab Spring: One Year Later

The Turkish Model: Can It Be Replicated?

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 11:09 am

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) has been enthusiastically received by Arab Spring countries that look to Turkey as a potential model. Here, Erdogan hosts Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of the National Transitional Council of Libya, in Istanbul, last month.
Mustafa Ozer AFP/Getty Images

In the Arab states that have ousted dictators and begun building new political and economic systems, many are looking to Turkey as an example of a modern, moderate Muslim state that works. Perhaps no country has seen its image in the Arab world soar as quickly as Turkey, a secular state that's run by a party with roots in political Islam. As part of our series on the Arab Spring and where it stands today, NPR's Peter Kenyon examines whether the "Turkish model" can be exported.

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4:06pm

Wed December 21, 2011
Middle East

Iran And Its Rivals Dig In On Nuclear Dispute

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 5:01 pm

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad regularly defends his country's nuclear program despite international criticism. The president is shown here on a visit to Varamin, south of Tehran, on Wednesday.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

The year began on a note of cautious optimism on the Iran nuclear front. But talks in Geneva and Istanbul proved inconclusive, and the Arab Spring uprisings soon pushed Iran off center stage. And as 2012 approaches, observers see little reason for optimism regarding a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear dispute.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, under attack from other conservative factions at home, continues to find a safe rhetorical haven in defending Iran's nuclear program — and in attacking the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

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5:00am

Sat December 3, 2011
Europe

Turks Enjoy A Little Schadenfreude At EU's Expense

A woman walks up the stairs of Galata Bridge in Istanbul. With the financial crisis in the eurozone, Turks are rethinking their years-long bid to be a part of the European Union.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

As he prepares for the midday rush, Mustafa Baljan puts the finishing touches on the kebabs, salads and stews that make up many a working Turk's lunch. As the steam carries the scent of lamb and garlic into the street, the 37-year-old restaurant owner considers a popular question: With European economies on the ropes, should Turkey still be seeking to join the European Union?

"Are you kidding? Of course I don't want to join," Baljan says. "Countries are going bankrupt. Why would we want to join a union like that?"

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8:00am

Sat November 26, 2011
Food

Turkey Feels Pressure To Act On Syria

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 2:29 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The Arab League meets today in Cairo to consider imposing sanctions against Syria after Damascus rejected the League's demand that Syria allow an observer mission into the country. As protests there continue and the death toll mounts, neighboring Turkey says it's ready to join the Arab League in levying punitive measures against the government in Damascus. But as NPR's Peter Kenyon reports from Istanbul, Turkey's deep reluctance to endorse a military option underscores the complex risks surrounding any foreign intervention in Syria.

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12:01am

Mon November 14, 2011
Conflict In Libya

Libya's Economy Faces New Tests After Gadhafi Era

Originally published on Mon November 14, 2011 8:27 am

A worker walks in front of a refinery inside the Brega oil complex in Libya.
Hussein Malla AP

Some Americans are old enough to remember pulling up to the pump at gas stations advertising fuel in cents per gallon, not dollars. For many Libyans, that's the way it has always been and should continue to be in this sparsely populated oil-producing country.

At a Tripoli gas station on a recent afternoon, popular opinion among local Libyans appears to be that the government would keep the prices low, around 60 cents a gallon, or bring them down even further.

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12:51am

Sat November 12, 2011
Africa

Families Of Prisoners Pressure Libya's New Leaders

A woman outside the Hudba el-Gassi compound in Tripoli, Libya, holds up a sign asking, "Where's my father?" Once a military police base, Hudba el-Gassi is now a makeshift prison for regime loyalists and others rounded up by armed militiamen.
Sean Carberry NPR

In the new Libya, uncertainty is the one certainty.

Contradictions and conspiracies proliferate faster than street demonstrations now that the iron fist of dictator Moammar Gadhafi's regime has been lifted.

Among those searching for answers are relatives of prisoners locked away by various revolutionary military councils. Some of the prisoners are former Gadhafi loyalists with blood on their hands. But family members say others were seized for motives of revenge.

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5:00pm

Wed November 9, 2011
Africa

Turks, Europeans Lead Charge On Libyan Investment

Originally published on Wed November 9, 2011 7:53 pm

Libya may be months from a new government, but the still-infrequent international flights to Tripoli are packed with businesspeople looking to land contracts with this oil-rich North African state. The Turks and Europeans appear to be moving quickly, while the Americans seem to be several steps behind.

On one recent afternoon, the plush Rixos hotel in Tripoli hosted hastily organized meetings between Libyans and a swarm of Turks representing 150 different companies.

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12:01am

Wed November 9, 2011
Conflict In Libya

In Post-Gadhafi Libya, Enmities Continue To Smolder

This abandoned village outside the city of Zintan was populated by pro-Gadhafi families from the Mushashya, a nomadic tribe from southern Libya. Fighters from Zintan, which rebelled against Gadhafi forces, are hoping they won't come back.
Sean Carberry NPR

In Libya's Nafusa mountains southwest of Tripoli, the sight of abandoned villages and idle fighters hanging onto their weapons gives bleak testament to the fact that not everyone in the country is ready for the violence that overthrew former dictator Moammar Gadhafi to end.

In one windswept mountain village outside the city of Zintan, the only sound is the lonely clatter of a door against the gate of an abandoned house. Burned-out cars and a foam mattress soaked from the rain litter the street; most of the houses look as if they've been looted.

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4:08am

Wed October 26, 2011
World

Fresh Violence Strains Reforms For Turkish Kurds

Originally published on Wed October 26, 2011 7:49 am

Thousands of Turks march Sunday in the streets of the capital, Ankara, to denounce the killing of 25 soldiers by the PKK.

Burhan Ozbilici AP

Turkish soldiers, artillery and military aircraft are engaged in their biggest military operation in a decade after a raid last week by the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, killed 24 soldiers and wounded more than 100. The operation comes as Turkish politicians begin to debate a new constitution that many hope will grant Turkey's Kurdish population long-sought civil rights.

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1:46pm

Sun October 23, 2011
World

Powerful Earthquake Strikes Eastern Turkey

A 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey on Sunday, collapsing dozens of buildings into piles of twisted steel and chunks of concrete. NPR's Peter Kenyon reports.

1:48pm

Mon October 17, 2011
Middle East

Israel-Palestinian Prisoner Swap Stirs Strong Debate

Originally published on Tue October 18, 2011 12:05 pm

Faizeh al-Maslamani (left) with her sister and a portrait of her husband, Ali, due to be released with more than 470 Palestinian prisoners Tuesday. Ali spent most of the past three decades in an Israeli jail. Faizeh says he has 10 grandchildren he's never seen. She hopes he'll accept "a life sentence in the house."

Peter Kenyon NPR

By a strong majority, Israelis support the decision to swap more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for one Israeli soldier. Still, it has provoked a painful debate, one that played out Monday, as it has several times before when Israel made similar lopsided trades in the past.

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12:01am

Wed October 12, 2011
Middle East

Syrian Refugees In Turkey Call For International Help

Syrian refugees gather for a protest against Syrian President Bashar Assad at the Turkish Red Crescent camp in the Yayladagi district of the Turkish city of Hatay near the Syrian border, June 20, 2011. More than 7,000 Syrians are living in camps in Turkey.

Mustafa Ozer AFP/Getty Images

As political unrest and a government crackdown in Syria continue to simmer, more than 7,500 Syrian refugees have fled to camps in southeastern Turkey, and Syrians say many more would come if they could get past the Syrian army.

One of these camps, Altinozu, lies deep in the farm fields of Turkey's Hatay province. It appears to be well-planned and well-run, right down to the asphalt laid between the rows of white tents.

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4:00am

Mon October 10, 2011
Middle East

Assassination Galvanizes Syria's Kurdish Minority

Originally published on Mon October 10, 2011 12:22 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

An eruption of anger inside Syria at the assassination of a leading Kurdish politician is reverberating along the Turkish-Syria border. More than 7,500 Syrians are already sheltering in camps in Turkey. Now that Turkey is about to announce new sanctions against Syria, it's worried about a fresh wave of migration if violence continues to escalate.

NPR's Peter Kenyon has this report from Turkey's Hatay Province near the Syrian border.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHILDREN PLAYING)

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8:13am

Sat October 1, 2011
Middle East

Turkey's Quiet Deal Keeps U.S. Close, Israel Not Far

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 3:41 pm

President Obama meets with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday in New York City. Turkey has agreed to a U.S. radar installation as part of a NATO missile defense system.
Pool Getty Images

Turkey's leaders have called Israel the "West's spoiled child," and the "bully" of the eastern Mediterranean. When a Tel Aviv soccer team showed up in Istanbul recently for a match, the welcome was less than warm.

In September, Turkey kicked out the Israeli ambassador, suspended military and trade deals and threatened legal and naval action to challenge Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

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12:01am

Fri September 16, 2011
Middle East

Iran's Political Infighting Ensnares 2 U.S. Hikers

Originally published on Fri September 16, 2011 12:49 pm

A handout picture released by the official website of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shows Khamenei listening to a speech by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (back) during a ceremony with other Iranian top officials and foreign ambassadors to mark the Muslim Eid al-Fitr feast in Tehran on Aug. 31, 2011.
HO/AFP/Getty Images

The families of two American hikers imprisoned in Iran received hopeful, and then wrenching news this week. Iran's president announced the two would be released, only to have the judiciary deny it the next day.

As President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prepares to visit New York for the United Nations General Assembly, the political infighting among Iranian conservatives seems to be intensifying.

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3:29pm

Mon September 12, 2011
Middle East

Turkish Leader Begins "Arab Spring" Tour

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyep Erdogan is visiting the three Arab countries that this year ousted long-time authoritarian leaders — Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. Turkey is playing an increasingly prominent role in the region and is looking to start on good terms with the new leaders in these countries.

6:03pm

Tue August 9, 2011
Europe

In Turkey, Proposed Internet Filters Stir Protests

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answers on CNN-Turk, July 16, 2011. Clinton said that the United States was "concerned" about media freedom and free speech in Turkey amid the arrest of dozens of journalists and restrictions on the Internet.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Faced with criticism at home and abroad, Turkey has decided to delay new Internet restrictions that were due to take effect this month. The government also has reduced the number of filters, which it says will target adult content.

Critics call the filters another blow to freedom of expression. Scores of Turkish journalists are already in jail, and thousands more are under investigation. The issue is clouding Turkey's reputation as a model for the region.

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4:00am

Fri August 5, 2011
Middle East

Anxiety Spreads In Hama Amid Violence, Isolation

Residents of the Syrian city of Hama are bracing for another day of shelling and shooting as the regime continues its military crackdown on the first Friday of Ramadan. Hama residents say they're trapped in their houses, often without electricity or water.

4:00am

Mon August 1, 2011
Middle East

Syrian Forces Attack Anti-Government Demonstrations

In a sharp escalation of violence in Syria, government troops Sunday moved into the central city of Hama, killing dozens, in a bid to regain control of a major hub of the country's opposition movement.

5:18am

Tue July 26, 2011
Middle East

Killing Focuses Attention On Iran's Nuclear Program

Iran says a scientist killed in Tehran over the weekend was not connected with the country's nuclear program, but the daylight killing and recent announcements by Tehran of nuclear advances have renewed scrutiny of the country's nuclear effort.

Iranian media said 35-year-old Darioush Rezai-Nejad was a promising graduate student. Officials speculated that his assailants — gunmen on motorbikes — may have confused him with a nuclear scientist with a similar name.

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12:21pm

Sun July 24, 2011
World

Iran: Scientist May Have Been Mistakenly Killed

Iran says the killing of a young scientist Saturday was a "U.S.-Zionist terrorist act."

Darioush Rezai-Nejad, 35, was gunned down in Tehran on Saturday by assailants who also wounded his wife, according to state-run Iranian media.

A number of Iranian nuclear scientists have been attacked in recent years, but officials said in this case there may have been a mistake. Official media said Rezai-Nejad, a promising graduate student, may have been killed because his name is similar to another scientist, who does work on Iran's nuclear program.

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4:00am

Wed July 20, 2011
Middle East

Wealthy Persian Gulf Tourists Travel To Turkey

Months of unrest in the Middle East and North Africa continue to take their economic toll. While tourism figures are down across the region, patterns are shifting. Beirut became the favored destination for Arab travelers reluctant to endure post Sept. 11 hostility in the West, but now it's losing those wealthy Persian Gulf visitors to Turkey.

12:01am

Thu July 14, 2011
Middle East

Hezbollah Indictments, Syrian Unrest Shake Lebanon

The Arab Spring has largely bypassed Lebanon, but the new government may still be in jeopardy.

Growing unrest next door in Syria is seen as an imminent danger. It doesn't help that a key player in the new government is Hezbollah, the Shiite militia and party backed by the increasingly unpopular regime in Damascus. Nor does it help that four Hezbollah members are accused in the killing of a former Lebanese prime minister — a charge Hezbollah denies.

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7:01am

Fri June 24, 2011
Middle East

Syrian, Turkish Troops Mass At Shared Border

Washington is calling on Syria to remove its troops from the border with Turkey. Aid officials say hundreds of Syrians fled makeshift camps into southeastern Turkey as the military approached.

Ankara doesn't want to lose its economic engagement with Syria, but nonetheless is shifting its rhetoric in support of the people demanding more freedoms.

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