The Turkish people are composed of various ethnic types, ranging from Caucasoid to Northern Mongoloid. Turks are part of the family of Turkic peoples which includes the modern nations of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Language and religion are the primary uniting factors for Turks.
The first Turkic people lived in a region extending from China to Siberia. They gradually migrated westward and converted to Islam. The Turks came to rule much of the Islamic world through the Seljuk and the Ottoman dynasties. The Ottoman empire collapsed after World War I and became the Republic of Turkey. For much of the 20th century, the other Turkic peoples were citizens of either the Soviet Union or the People's Republic of China.