© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.Leadership is a major aspect of Turkish politics; leaders in Turkish politics are regarded as either almost sacred figures or the ultimate reason for all political, social and economic problems. Leaders are seen as decision makers who have a significant impact on almost all aspects of life. It can be contended that a historical continuance toward the leader-centered perspective is present in Turkish politics. This paper aims to present a descriptive framework outlining the elements that constitute the leader-centered perspective in Turkish politics. To accomplish this goal, the paper presents two major arguments. It is argued that the constitutive elements of the leader-centered perspective in Turkish politics are a sui generis synthesis of patrimonialism, patriarchy, populism and militarism. Furthermore, this fourfold historical structure strengthens forms of charismatic leadership and can provide insight into the central role of leadership in Turkish politics.