(Istanbul) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, given suffering since Tuesday evening, reappeared in public on Saturday displaying a combative air after three days of eclipse, fifteen days before the presidential election.

The head of state, still pale, showed up in a red pilot’s suit at Istanbul’s former Atatürk airport where the Teknofest air show is held. Turkey presents this fair, which allows the Turkish military industry to exhibit its drones, as “the largest in the world”.

Affected by an intestinal virus, according to his entourage, Mr. Erdogan, 69, including 20 in power, had only spoken this week by videoconference, raising questions about his state of health in the run-up to the May 14 election. .

Resuming the willingly polemical tone he likes on Saturday, the president immediately relaunched his attacks against his opponents, without explicitly mentioning his state of health. “With the outrageous statements they have made in recent days, they are revealing their hatred and their grudges,” he said to the crowd, before posing in the middle of women and children who joined him on stage.

“But no matter what they try to do, they won’t get anywhere,” he continued, accusing opposition members of being “agents” of the West bent on undermining the Turkey.

Mr. Erdogan was accompanied by President Ilham Aliev of Azerbaijan and Prime Minister of Libya Abdel Hamid Dbeibah, two countries to which Turkey supplies combat drones.

Determined to put the rumors to rest, he held an afternoon rally in Izmir, on the west coast, congratulating himself on having “resumed (his) program” of campaigning. “We have two weeks left and we will work even more, we will not stop! “, he launched in front of a crowd of supporters.

He is also expected Sunday in Ankara, the capital, two weeks to the day of the first round of voting.

President Erdogan had been forced to adapt his agenda since Tuesday evening and to cancel all his planned trips, including that for the highly anticipated inauguration on Thursday of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, for which he had even expected the arrival of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He finally spoke by videoconference, appearing pale and with drawn features sitting behind a desk.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan was forced on Tuesday evening to interrupt a live television interview.

The head of state, pale in complexion, reappeared on the air a quarter of an hour later before cutting the interview short, explaining that he had caught a “stomach flu”.

The episode fell badly for the Turkish president, who intends to line up two to three daily rallies in the home stretch before the double presidential and legislative ballot.

The health of the Turkish leader had already fueled speculation after a large intestine operation in late 2011, followed by further surgery the following year. Mr. Erdogan, then Prime Minister, had publicly denied suffering from colon cancer, explaining that the operations were aimed at removing polyps.

At the same time, his main opponent, Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, chained four rallies in two days.

At the head of an alliance of six opposition parties, Mr. Kiliçdaroglu is in good shape, according to most polls.

In addition, the left-wing pro-Kurdish party HDP, Turkey’s third political force, on Friday called on its supporters to vote in favor of Mr. Kiliçdaroglu, a support likely to favor his election.