US-based journalists' advocacy group condemns charges against Turkish journalist

A U.S.-based journalists' advocacy group has condemned charges filed against a Turkish columnist, saying they should be dropped immediately.

Gultekin Avci was charged Sunday with "attempting to overthrow the government," among other allegations. His lawyer says the case has been riddled with procedural violations.

Avci, who works for the Bugun daily and has written on intelligence matters, is one of several journalists and news groups which have been charged before an early election scheduled for Nov. 1.

On Wednesday, New York-based Committee to Project Journalists condemned the charges against Avci, and Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova called on Turkey to "fundamentally reform" its penal code.

Turkey has long been criticized by opponents who say the government stifles media freedom. Earlier this month, mobs attacked the Hurriyet newspaper.