ANKARA — NATO member Turkey’s stunning decision to select a Chinese contender to build the country’s first long-range air and missile-defense system does not mean that the game is over for US and European companies that bid for the prize, government officials said.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters Oct. 25 that Ankara would be open to new offers if talks with China Precision Machinery Import Export Corp. (CPMIEC) fail. “Currently, I don’t know if there are different proposals from the other parties. If there are, they could be considered,” Erdogan said.

A senior procurement official said the decision to select CPMIEC may not be the end but rather the beginning of a fresh round of competition. “The game is certainly not over yet. We would enthusiastically assess rival bids if they make sense in terms of costs and the level of technology transfer we require,” he said.