Turkish People - History

History

Although numerous modern genetic studies have indicated that the historical Anatolian groups are the primary source of the present-day Turkish population, the first Turkic people lived in a region extending from Central Asia to Siberia and were palpable after the 6th Century BC. Seventh century Chinese sources preserve the origins of the Turks stating that they were a branch of the Hsiung-nu (Huns) and living near the "West Sea", perhaps the Caspian Sea. Modern sources tends to indicate that the Turks' ancestors lived within the state of the Hsiung-nu in the Transbaikal area and that they later, during the fifth century, migrated to the southern Altay.

By the ninth century, when the Great Seljuk Empire had emerged, the Turks began their expansion to the west directly colliding with the Byzantine Empire. In 1071, the Seljuk Turks defeated the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert; the Turkish language and Islam were introduced to Anatolia (present day Turkey) and gradually spread over the region and the slow transition from a predominantly Christian and Greek-speaking Anatolia to a predominantly Muslim and Turkish-speaking one was underway. The Mongols invaded Transoxiana, Iran, Azerbaijan and Anatolia; this caused Turkomens to move further to Western Anatolia. In the time of the Ottoman Empire, the Turkish-speaking Anatolian population had spread throughout the Balkans, Cyprus, North Africa, and the Middle East, and remnants of these Turkish minorities still exists. As the Ottoman Empire gradually shrank in size, military power and wealth, many Ottoman Turks and Balkan Muslims migrated to the Empire's heartland in Anatolia, along with the Circassians fleeing the Russian conquest of the Caucasus.

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