Any of various peoples who speak one of the Turkic languages. They are connected with the Tuque (T'u-chüeh), nomadic people who in the 6th century AD founded an empire stretching from Mongolia to the Black Sea (see Turkistan). In the 11th century the Seljuqs created an extensive empire after defeating the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert (1071), an event that opened Anatolia to settlement by Turkic-speaking peoples (and eventually led to the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in the 20th century). Though overrun by the Mongols in the 13th century, the Turks succeeded in absorbing them after Genghis Khan's death (1227). In the 14th century Timur, who was of mixed Mongolian and Turkic ancestry, held most of Central Asia and some of South Asia. In the 15th century Russian expansion drove the Turkic peoples eastward into what is now Kazakhstan. Today Turkic peoples live mostly in Turkey, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan.
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