A proud heritage
Over 2500 years ago in central Asia, there lived a group of dispersed tribes loosely termed the Turkic people. Their name came from the common language they spoke, a tongue somewhat similar to Finnish, Hungarian and Estonian. Most of the tribes were sheep-raising nomads who lived in tents called yurts, but some led a settled life. In many respects they were quite an advanced civilisation, knowing how to work iron and copper.
The lands and peoples of central Asia were, for centuries, under the influence of the Chinese empires to the east and the Persian empires in the west. History records a Persian invasion of central Asia as early as the sixth century BC. It is thought that the famous Great Wall of China was built to stop raids by the nomadic Turkic and Mongolian tribes.
As time passed and the population grew, it became harder and harder to eke out a satisfactory living from the lands of central Asia. The nomadic tribes thus uprooted themselves and headed westward. A significant movement took place during the fifth century AD when Huns from Asia invaded Europe through lands north of the Caspian Sea. They dislocated many Germanic tribes, caused the downfall of the Western Roman Empire and established a short-lived state in central eastern Europe. The Eastern Roman Empire (or Byzantine Empire, as it was later called), with its capital in Constantinople, weathered the invasion.
Another major migratory move by nomadic Turkic tribes occurred in the eleventh century. This time the travellers journeyed south of the Caspian Sea, then through Persia and Mesopotamia,