A friend in her eighties asks a question: "I know the Turks came out of the East in 1200 something to attack and conquer Constantinople. I believe the final capitulation was in the 1400s. At any rate, what is their national background as opposed to Arabs, ergo, why are they Islamic? I no longer have my dear old 1930s Encyclopedia Britannica purchased by my parents to enhance their daughter's education. What a loss to smarter living."
After consulting some books, some Turkish friends, Google and Wikipedia I came up with this answer:
Numerous tribes of Turks were here in present-day Turkey for hundreds of years before the conquest of Constantinople in 1453. You are correct that the Turkic tribes came from the east, from Central Asia. In their tribal and pagan roots, their rituals were very much like native Americans, and indeed some Turks believe that native Americans were Turks, in that they migrated from Central Asia across the Bering Strait to North America.
We have a wonderful doctor friend named Tarik Artis whose family roots are in Central Asia, in Kashi Xinkiang to be exact. He is proud to say his family was part of one of the original Turkish tribes. He has cousins in northwestern China. His family looks more Asian, almost Chinese, than Turk.
Various Turkish tribes were converted to Islam by Arabs and Persians, beginning in the 700s.
Turkish tribes became warriors for Islam and defeated the Byzantines at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. This battle, near the Turkey/Armenian border, was important in undermining Byzantine authority in Anatolia and Armenia.
You may have heard of the Great Seljuk Empire (1037 - 1194). The Seljuk Turks conquered part of Byzantine territory in Anatolia and elsewhere. There is still architecture from the Seljuk period in modern Turkey.
As the Seljuk Empire collapsed, the Sultanate of Rum assumed formerly Roman territory in Anatolia. It was based in Konya, Turkey.
Then Osman (1258-1324), a faithful Muslim and young prince in Eskisehir (between Istanbul and Ankara), had a dream in the 13th century that his tribe, the Ottomans, would conquer vast lands, and that Constantinople would recognize Mohammad as prophet and fall to the Muslim Turks.
The Ottomans were based in Bursa, Turkey. As they expanded, Osman's dream began to come true in 1453, when Sultan Mehmet the Second conquered Constantinople. They went on to conquer much of the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe.
To sum up, the reason you are a Christian today is because the Muslim Turks never made it to your ancestral home in Northern Europe. If they had, you'd probably be Muslim today. ;-)