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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3:03am

Tue February 4, 2014
Parallels

Istanbul's Mega-Projects: Bigger Is Better, Or A 'Crazy Canal'?

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 8:12 am

The pillars for the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, commonly known as the "Third Bridge" rise from the Anatolian and European sides of the Bosphorus, above the fishing harbor of Poyrazkoy. When completed, the bridge will be over two kilometers in length, making it the longest combination railway/highway bridge in the world.
Jodi Hilton for NPR

Istanbul has long been a city of historical layers and sharp contrasts: ancient monuments share the skyline none too comfortably with modern skyscrapers, and charming cobbled streets run alongside massive highway traffic snarls.

Those contrasts have multiplied under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his love of giant building projects hasn't abated after more than a decade in power.

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5:27pm

Wed January 22, 2014
Middle East

Turkish Opposition Eyes Its Opportunity In March

Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 10:38 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Over the next 17 months, Turkey will see three elections: local and presidential elections this year, followed by parliamentary voting next year. With Turkey's political landscape unsettled by scandals and growing voter discontent, even the local elections are drawing intense interest and that is especially true in Istanbul. As NPR's Peter Kenyon reports, the secular opposition sees the mayor's race there as its best chance in a decade of scoring a win over the dominant ruling party.

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3:47pm

Tue December 3, 2013
Parallels

Some Turkish Churches Get Makeovers — As Mosques

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 8:11 pm

The fifth century Byzantine Stoudios monastery in Istanbul housed a church and was later turned into a mosque and then a museum before falling into disrepair.
Peter Kenyon NPR

A historically significant but now-crumbling fifth century Byzantine monastery in Istanbul is finally slated for restoration. But for Turkey's dwindling Greek community, the bad news is that the government wants to turn the Stoudios monastery into a mosque.

It's just one of several such conversions of historically Christian sites that the government is considering. And there's even talk that the Hagia Sophia, the most famous Byzantine structure in modern Istanbul, will be reconverted into a mosque.

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4:51pm

Tue November 26, 2013
Middle East

Is Easing Iran Sanctions The Right Move?

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 5:56 pm

Much of the criticism of the interim nuclear deal reached with Iran Sunday has focused on the sanctions relief Iran will receive over the next six months if it follows through on restricting its nuclear program. Although the only irreversible relief being offered is a gradual release of $4.2 billion in frozen Iranian revenue, critics warn that the "architecture of the sanctions regime has been undermined." Analysts say all the important sanctions hampering Iran's economy remain in place, but the announcement of the deal itself is having a psychological impact on markets.

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6:46am

Sat November 2, 2013
Europe

Turkey's 'Rockin' Imam' Inspires Youth, Tests Boundaries

Originally published on Sat November 2, 2013 3:10 pm

Tuzer says there's nothing in his lyrics that could offend, but religious conservatives have opened an investigation into his musical activities.
Courtesy Ahmet Muhsin Tuzer

At 42, Ahmet Muhsin Tuzer has a modest post as imam in a small mosque in the village of Pinarbasi, near Turkey's Mediterranean coast, where he serves about 15 Sunni Muslim families. It's not the kind of place where you'd expect to find an imam attracting attention across Turkey and beyond.

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4:40pm

Wed October 30, 2013
Parallels

Ottoman Dream Come True: Train Links East And West In Istanbul

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 9:04 pm

A Marmaray Project train awaits its inauguration ceremony in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Ozan Kose AFP/Getty Images

The Marmaray Project, Turkey's new underwater rail link between the European and Asian sides of Istanbul, is open for business. It's the first of its kind, a modern feat of engineering that realizes the 150-year-old dream of an Ottoman sultan.

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3:21am

Mon October 14, 2013
Parallels

Iran's Leaders Send Sobering Message: No Quick Economic Fix

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 4:21 am

Two Iranian textile merchants wait for customers in Tehran's main bazaar. President Hassan Rouhani has raised hopes by reaching out to the West and promising to work for an end to sanctions. But his team has cautioned that the country's economic problems have deep roots.
Vahid Salemi AP

The U.S. and its Western allies have not been able to win the nuclear concessions they have sought from Iran. But they have been able to inflict considerable economic pain through sanctions.

But now, Iran's call for a nuclear agreement and an end to sanctions has raised hopes among Iranians that better economic times may be ahead. The Iranian currency has stabilized somewhat since the election of President Hassan Rouhani, although inflation and unemployment remain high.

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4:25pm

Thu September 19, 2013
Middle East

Turkey's Lira Falls To Its Lowest Value In Years

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 7:07 pm

Potential changes in economic policy from Washington have sent tremors throughout emerging economies. In Turkey, where growth in recent years has put Eurozone economies to shame, the signs are troubling: The Turkish lira has fallen to its lowest value in years and private sector debt is soaring. Economists say continued liquidity and foreign investment remains crucial if Turkey is to avoid a hard landing.

4:19am

Fri September 6, 2013
Sports

Olympic Committee To Announce 2020 Summer Games Host

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 2:22 pm

Tokyo's 2020 candidate city logo.
Juan Mabromata AFP/Getty Images

Saturday in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the International Olympic Committee will announce the host of the 2020 Summer Games. The committee is choosing from among Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo. The contenders all have strong selling points, but each also has serious issues clouding its bid.

Violent Crackdown Hangs Over Turkey's Bid

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7:40am

Mon September 2, 2013
Middle East

Regional Leaders Confused By U.S. Delay On Syria Strike

Originally published on Mon September 2, 2013 7:43 am

Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al Arabi (L) and Egypt Foreign Affairs minister Nabil Fahmi (C) head a meeting of the Arab League at the body's Cairo headquarters on Sunday.
Gianluigi Guercia AFP/Getty Images

Syria's state-run media depict President Obama as weak and indecisive after his decision to wait for a congressional vote on the use of force. Officials in Damascus remain defiant, even as the Arab League blamed the Syrian government for the use of chemical weapons.

Syria's pro-government Al-Thawra newspaper called it a "historic American retreat," and supporters of President Bashar Assad said they were teaching the world a lesson in strong leadership.

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