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Abstract

This paper demonstrates a political executive's emergence as a personalist leader within a political party through the bureaucratic means of influencing the duration of time in office of high-level elites that pose as competition and constraints to his leadership role. Due to the restrictions on a leader's decision-making and power from the effects of "institutionalization" among cabinet elites, a leader with the intentions of becoming a personalist leader may employ the strategy of rotating elites frequently to inhibit the process from developing and restraining their individual power. This research demonstrates the use of this rotating strategy during Erdogan's terms as leader of Turkey. An aspect of the Turkish president's incremental consolidation of power within the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been by decreasing the term duration of elites in the Turkish cabinet through frequently rotating these elites from high-level positions to the extent of breaking down institutionalization and aiding his emergence as a personalist leader. Remarkably, the successful implementation of the rotation strategy is uncommon in state systems with competitive elections. By observing the increasingly short duration of the terms of Turkish cabinet elites, an element in the process of Erdogan's personalization of power is displayed in a nominally democratic system. After establishing the importance of term duration of cabinet elites in constraining the power of a political leader, the paper examines the strategies used by President Erdogan, important selected cases of the theory, and concludes with the implications of a political leader moving cabinet elites to personalize power.

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