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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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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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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.

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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.

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.

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In Iran, voters are still waiting for clarity from the Feb. 26 parliamentary elections, but they're optimistic that a more cooperative legislature will help the government boost the economy. Hopes for broader social and political reforms, however, remain faint.

On a recent afternoon, a covered bazaar in north Tehran has its share of visitors, but there seems to be a lot more window-shopping than buying going on. Carpet shop owner Ali Mirnezami confirms that impression. He says this shop has been operating for 90 years, but at the moment things aren't looking good.

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Iranians vote on Friday for Parliament. The results could signal whether they are ready to engage more robustly with the West, following a deal with world powers aimed at preventing the country from developing nuclear weapons.

Hardliners have effectively controlled the country's political system since Iran's revolution. But Hassan Rouhani, the current president, is considered a moderate and has worked to improve relations with the West. The election will be a crucial test of his agenda.

Iran's capital, Tehran, is in political overdrive this week. Candidates for parliament are battling the Tehran traffic, vying for support in Friday's elections.

This is Iran's first ballot since a nuclear agreement last July that brought the lifting of international sanctions in January. Long before the nuclear deal was signed, Iranians were told by their leaders that the removal of sanctions would bring more opportunity and better living standards.

But for the most part, ordinary Iranians aren't seeing improvements so far.

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