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If Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wins re-election, as he will on Sunday, it will be because of his popularity among the victims of last February’s earthquake.

Pundits predicted that Mr Erdogan’s coordinated aid campaign and revelations of lax building codes would cost survivors of the earthquake, which killed more than 50,000 people. But they remained faithful. In the first round of parliamentary elections held two weeks ago, the ruling party won 10 of the 11 states affected by the earthquake.

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Pundits predicted that earthquake victims would take their anger out on President Erdogan. You are wrong. In Turkey, political choices have led to polarized identities.

Why did voters confuse the experts’ predictions? Ultimately, the explanation may be found in Turkey’s polarization – a striking feature of Mr Erdogan’s controversial rule.

Disappointed by the results of the first round of the election, the president’s opponents, earthquake survivors, protested in support of Mr. Erdogan. It was equal to the victims.

Most importantly, most of the earthquake zone is a political territory traditionally owned by the ruling AKP party. According to political science professor Emre Erdoğan, in a polarized society like Turkey, “Political choices have turned into identity.

Meryem Eger suffered more than most mothers.

In the year

In fact, they all survived. But her husband lost his job as a driver. Her son is partially deaf. The girl still hasn’t finished high school. Today, the four live in a tent, in the hills above this southern Turkish city, where many of the homeless have fled, preferring the safety of the rocky terrain to the soft earth of the valley below.

Why did we write this?

A story focused on

Pundits predicted that earthquake victims would take their anger out on President Erdogan. You are wrong. In Turkey, political choices have led to polarized identities.

Given the problems they are facing, Ms Iger and her new neighbors are expected to vote against President Riek Machar in elections held two weeks ago. Even more earthquake survivors voted for the president than he predicted — helping to push the race into a runoff this Sunday.

Her vote drew heavy criticism from opponents of President Erdogan, and Ms Iger feels she has been unfairly targeted. “When we saw bad words about us, we felt great pain,” says Mrs. Iger. “To live through what we went through, I wish to God that no one else has to go through this.”