Turk character jug in a white colorway produced at Kuznetsov Factory of Dulyovo, Russia, circa 1920. Turks are a collection of ethnic groups who speak Turkic languages or are from the Turkish Empire. The Ottoman Empire, historically and colloquially the Turkish Empire, was an empire that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia by the Turkoman tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe and, with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 by Mehmed the Conqueror.