This study examines the Turkish decision not to ally with the United States on 1 March 2003. It argues that Turkey, motivated by the struggle for autonomy, developed a proactive strategy of avoidance against the US’s demands mainly because of its concerns on the possible consequences of the instability that was expected as an outcome of a US war in Iraq. This was neither a balancing nor a bandwagoning behaviour. Through the use of diplomatic channels on different levels, Turkey attempted to decrease the harmful effects of the approaching instability. Five diplomatic tracks show that the Turkish behaviour was a proactive avoidance strategy.