Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani invited Nihad Awad, the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ (CAIR) executive director, to meet with them in New York during this week’s U.N. General Assembly meeting.
“It’s not about photo ops for me,” Awad wrote on Twitter. “It’s about real issues and people’s lives. Please engage and tell me what issues and questions I should raise.”
It marks the third straight year Awad meets Erdogan around the UN session, joining U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) leaders last year and with two dozen other Islamists in 2016.
“…[It] makes you wonder what Awad gets in return from Erdogan’s government,” said exiled Turkish journalist Abdullah Bozkurt, who noted Erdogan has jailed 60,000 opponents.
Despite Erdogan’s increasing authoritarian actions, Awad and his organization have held Erdogan’s Turkey out as a beacon of democracy.