The Turks (Oghuz) accepted Islam in the 8th or 10th century while they were still in Central Asia. During the 9th and 10th centuries, they formed a principality in the Aral Sea region and in the area of the northern Caspian Sea, where they inherited a vast area. They began their southward migration in four waves from 8th century to the 11th in search of new pastures, when there was also struggle for power among themselves. According to Arab historian and traveller Al-Masudi, they were a nomadic tribe from the steppe of Central Asia and they are the descendants of Japheth or Yapheth ben Noah. In the 11th century, they appeared at Anatolia which was than under the Greeks. This was the time when Byzantine and Armenia were dominant powers in Asia Minor (Turkey).

The first reliable reference to the Oghuz (Turks) is provided by Arab sources at the end of 10th century of ten thousand families in all. According to the 11th century Uyghur scholar Kashghari, Oghuz consisted of 24 tribes but some speak of 12 tribes as well. The Seljuks were first to establish a government in the area of Asia Minor and they belonged to the Oghuz branch of Turks. In 1037, the Seljuk empire was founded in the north east of Iran and by 1060 the empire bordered Byzantine in Asia Minor. The Seljuks quickly overran much of Persia, Iraq and the Levant. Turks were in majority ruling a Persian, Arab and Kurdish majority.

The Seljuks emerged as the only power which gave the hope of reunification of Muslims. In 1070, the Byzantine army attacked the Turks at Manzikert (eastern Turkey) where they (the Byzantine army) were defeated which paved the way for the establishment of Turkish power in Asia Minor. In 1071, the Seljuks, under alp Arsalan, defeated the Byzantine army and thus gave way to Oghuz Turk tribes to settle in Anatolia. It was after this victory that many Turkish tribes came to Anatolia and established their hold in territories and remained loyal to Seljuks. This was the time when Mongols were on a rampage in Central Asia and elsewhere and Muslims were also fighting the crusaders. Therefore, fighters were needed for the cause of Islam in Asia Minor and Syria. The Kayi tribe was the one under its bey Ertugral son of Suleiman Shah, who remained loyal to Seljuk sultan Alaudin. He made Ertugral feudatory lord of the district of Sogut and assigned him the task of defending the border with Byzantine. As a result of his assistance to the Seljuks against Byzantines, he was granted lands by Seljuk’s sultan. Ertugrul died in 1289 and leadership passed on to his son Osman.

Osman is considered the founder of the Ottoman power and his name is held in the highest esteem by Turks to this day. It was in the mind of Osman to become an independent ruler and even a small emirate to establish a foothold. He launched a series of attacks against the Byzantine and became emir of a small state. By 1299, Osman and his sons laid the foundation of an Islamic empire which came to be known as the Ottoman empire. Later, the Ottomans under Orkhan son of Osman began their advance into eastern Europe and southern region of Russia upto Crimea. It is said Orkhan founded the kingdom but it was Murad the first who made it an empire. Muhammad the conqueror was the greatest sultan of Turks who reigned for 30 years and it was during this time Constantinople fell, the centre of the Orthodox church and the seat of an ancient line of emperors.

Many countries in Europe like Bosnia, Albania and Serbia were conquered. During the time of Selim, Cairo and Syria were captured and it was during this time that the Shareefs of Mecca surrendered and the Turks became masters of a large eastern empire, also defeated Persia and conquered the Mamulks (Jerusalem, most of the middle east). However, the greatest of the Ottoman sultan was Suleiman son of Selim, who was a great conqueror, statesman and was known as Suleiman the magnificent. He reigned for 46 years and made the Ottoman empire a world power. The Ottomans reached the zenith of their glory during the reign of Suleiman the magnificent. His empire stretched from the Balkans to the borders of Persia, from Egypt to the Black Sea. It is written that the old city of Jerusalem belonged to him more than anyone else. The empire maintained its sovereign existence for over six centuries; it was the greatest power of the world which ruled areas in Europe, Asia and Africa.

A majority of today’s Turks are closely related to the Greeks and Armenians as compared to Central Asian Turks. At the time of the Ottomans, many locals (Greeks and Armenians) attached themselves to Turks for protection and then converted to Islam and adopted the Turkish language and culture. Today Turkic people spread over a vast area from the Balkans in the west to Xingjiang in the east.