Turkey’s Ministerial Elites: The Growing Importance of Technical Expertise

  • Sabri Sayarı
  • Hasret Dikici Bilgin
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Political Leadership book series (PSPL)


This chapter analyses the social profiles and political careers of the ministers who served in the Turkish governments from 1950 to 2011. Our findings show that in comparison to the earlier periods in Turkish politics, the ministerial elites have increasingly included larger number of individuals who have expertise in economic and social policy issues. Although technical expertise has become essential for cabinet membership, this trend has not been accompanied by the growing prominence of the non-partisan technocrats, as it has been the case elsewhere in Europe. Technocrats were represented in large numbers in Turkey’s governments between 1960 and 1980. Since then, affiliation with a political party has become an unwritten requirement for holding a ministerial portfolio. While cabinet ministers have been largely recruited from the parliamentary groups of the political parties, majority of them have had no legislative experience and they joined the cabinet only after winning a seat in the parliament for the first time. We argue that the problems that Turkey has experienced in consolidating its democracy along with the importance of clientelism and patronage in party politics are critical in understanding these trends in the making of Turkish cabinets.


Elite turnover Partisan ministerial recruitment Party system institutionalization Turkish politics 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabri Sayarı
    • 1
  • Hasret Dikici Bilgin
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceSabancı UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceIstanbul Bilgi UniversityIstanbulTurkey

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