Turkey has alarmed fellow NATO members by raising the prospect of handing China a multi-billion dollar missile contract, yet the long-running saga is far from over and Ankara may just be trading for a better deal.

Turkey, NATO’s only Muslim member, entered discussions in 2013 with the China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corporation (CPMIEC) over its first anti-missile system, a contract worth $3.4 billion (3 billion euros).

French-Italian consortium Eurosam and U.S.-listed Raytheon Co have also submitted offers, but several recent statements by Turkish officials have indicated the Chinese may be the front-runner. […]